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Full text of "The works of Charles and Mary Lamb"



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UNIVERSITY 

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HENRY WILLIAMS SAGE 



Cornell University Library 
PR 4860.A2 1903a 
'•^ The works of Charles and Mary l.am|>. 




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THE WORKS OF 
CHARLES AND MARY LAMB 



THE WORKS OF CHARLES AND MARY LAMB 

Editeb by E. T. LUCAS 

I. Miscellaneous Prose 1798-1834 
II. Elia and the Last Essays of Elia 

III. Books for Children 

IV. Dramatic Specimens and the Garrick Plays 
V. Poems and Plays 

VI, and VII. Letters 

The Life of Charles Lamb. By E. V. Lucas 

Two YoLUMEa. Dbmy 8vo. 

{In Preparation 




<.Ji^9??Z/J^y<^>'iti!e4/ cffuM^O/U 



THE WORKS OF 

CHARLES AND MARY 

LAMB 



EDITED BY 

E. V. LUCAS 



VOLUME I. 

MISCELLANEOUS PROSE 
1798-1834 



METHUEN & CO. 
36 ESSEX STREET W.C. 
LONDON 
1903 

T 



GENERAL INTRODUCTION 

THIS edition of Charles and Mary Lamb's writings, of which 
the present volume is the first, differs from others in 
several respects. It is the first to include a considerable 
number of essays and poems hitherto unidentified or uncollected 
— some sixty pages in all ; it is the first to include the Dramatic 
Specimens and Garrick Extracts ; and when the volumes containing 
the Letters are reached, they will be found to contain, in addition 
to other new letters, a fuller share of Mary Lamb's correspondence 
than has previously been considered needful. The system of 
arrangement is also fresh, and in annotation a severer standard 
of thoroughness than other editors have thought necessary has 
been adopted. 

To many readers, indeed, the first two volumes, at any rate, 
of this edition may seem to be annotated too fully ; but there will 
probably be a far greater number who will be pleased to find 
so many allusions accounted for ; and in these matters it is, I think, 
for the majority that an editor should work. 

The principle of annotation which I set before myself was not 
only to explain references and to trace quotations, but to show, 
wherever it was possible to do so, the place in Lamb's life of each 
essay and poem, and their relation to each other. Lamb's writings, 
especially as he grew older, being so curiously drawn from his own 
experience, it follows that the notes to his essays and poems — 
that is to say, to what may be called the autobiographical 
volumes of this edition — constitute in the mass what is practi- 
cally a history of the life and times of Lamb and many of his 
friends, although, of course, an irregular and broken one. 

With regard to his quotations, it is partly for the interesting light 
thrown by them on Lamb's reading that I have felt it important to 



vi GENERAL INTEODUCTION 

trace all those that were placed by him between inverted commas. 
Other borrowings, where they are more pronounced, have occasion- 
ally been indicated ; but to remark upon every Elizabethan echo 
in Lamb (even if I were able to do so) would overtask the 
holding capacity of any ordinary volume. To take an illustra- 
tive example: in the EUa essay "Old China," Lamb speaks of 
pocketing up his loss and shaking the superflux into the sea. He 
does not use quotation marks, but there is no doubt that he had 
in mind the Boy's " plain pocketing up of wrongs " in " Henry V.," 
Act IIL, Scene 2, 54, and Lear's " thou may'st shake the super- 
flux to them " (" Lear," Act III., Scene 4, 35). 

An editor who could assume Lamb's memory, and by the light 
of it examine minutely into his every sentence, would perform a 
very interesting literary task. Possibly one may arise. But for 
the purposes of an edition for non-scientific readers, I hope that 
my notes will be considered to go far enough. For assistance 
in tracking quotations and references my best thanks are due 
particularly to Mr. W. J. Craig ; also, among many other friends, 
to Mr. W. P. Ker, Mr. William Archer and Mr. Stephen Gwynn. 
Where I have borrowed suggestions from previous Editors of Lamb 
I have been careful to make acknowledgment. The dates are 
mainly those of the Dictionary of National Biography. The 
edition of Shakespeare referred to is the " Globe." 

The discovery of so much new matter, in prose, poetry and corres- 
pondence, leads one confidently to hope that other writings of 
Lamb's may still be forthcoming. There is, for example, the 
review of Godwin's Chaucer, which, as we know from the Letters, he 
wrote (or did not write) in 1803; the review "for a friend," on 
which, as he told John Taylor, the publisher, in June, 1821, he 
was so busily engaged, at Margate ; the essay on a man " who lived 
in past time," to which Coleridge refers in Table Talk. None of 
these has yet been found, nor have I yet been able to consult a file 
of The Albion, for which Lamb wrote epigrams in 1801. I hope 
also that the few numbers of Moxon's Reflector (1831) will make 
their appearance, for we know that Lamb contributed to it part of 
the EUa essay on " The Barrenness of the Imaginative Faculty in 
the Productions of Modern Art," and possibly he was also other- 
wise represented. 



GENERAL INTRODUCTION vii 

A word is necessary upon the few pictures which will be found in 
these volumes. This must not be considered an illustrated edition 
of Lamb. Such illustrations as there are, in addition to the 
frontispieces and facsimile title-pages, have been placed among 
the Notes, and should be looked upon as notes. They occur 
only where necessary ; that is, where, as in the essay on Hogarth, 
the text seems to require them. 

E. V. L. 

May, 1903 



PREFACE 

THE present volume contains all Lamb's prose, with the ex- 
ception of his work for children, his full notes in the 
Dramatic Specimens and Garrick Extracts, his prose plays 
and the Elia essays. The contents have been arranged in their 
order of publication ; the earliest dating from 1798, when Lamb 
was twenty-three, and the latest belonging to 1834, the year of 
his death — thus covering the whole of his literary life. It is for 
this reason that I have begun with this volume rather than with 
the Elia essays. 

One curious circumstance which is brought to light by this 
arrangement is the ban-enness of the period between 1812, when 
Lamb's activity for the Reflector was over, and 1820, when he 
began to contribute essays signed Elia to the London Magazine. 
These nine years are represented by only some seventy pages of this 
volume. A similar unproductiveness is to be noticed in Lamb's 
correspondence, where a very few pages suffice to cover all his 
tetters in the same period. Whether Lamb's pen was really so 
idle in those years, or whether there remains a body of articles 
and correspondence still to be discovered, only time can show. 

Bosamund Gray and the fourteen essays on pages 31, 39, 40, 56, 
64, 70, 92, 97, 112, 118, 124, 139, 172 and 181, are, with the 
possible exception of the " Confessions of a Drunkard," the only 
contents of this volume that Lamb himself prepared for book form. 
Most of the remaining pieces have been collected at various times 
since his death, by various editors, notably by the late J. E. 
Babson, in Eliana, 1864. 

But in addition to the essays and criticisms with which Lamb's 
readers are already familiar, the present volume contains nearly 



X PEEFACE 

forty pages, undoubtedly by him, which are now collected with 
his writings for the first time, and an appendix of eighteen 
pages, which most probably are his also. The history of these 
discoveries will be found in the Notes, but I should like to 
say here that I am largely indebted to others for assistance in 
lighting upon them. Thus, it was Mr. Bertram Dobell who first 
directed me to certain new papers in the Indicator and to one at 
least in the London Magazine; Mrs. Alfred Morrison kindly 
permitted me to examine Lamb's Commonplace Book in her col- 
lection, and Mr. Godfrey Locker-Lampson, the Commonplace 
Books at Rowfant ; Mr. J. H. Swann, of the Manchester Free 
Library, drew my attention to some suggestive notes among 
the late Alexander Ireland's papers ; and Mr. Edward Ayrton 
lent me a little volume of his grandfather's, containing the brief 
note on " London Fogs." As to the discovery of the " Lepus 
Papers," which now are reprinted for the first time, I have to 
thank the Trustees of Dr. Williams' Library for kindly allowing 
me to examine the Crabb Robinson diaries and letters. Without 
such assistance as I have indicated, this volume would be the 
poorer by many interesting new pieces. 

The present volume has been set up faithfully from The Works 
of Charles Lamb, 1818, and from various magazines and 
annuals, with the correction of a few obvious misprints. Any 
differences between the text of the Works and that of the essays 
in their earlier state reprinted therein have been remarked upon 
in the Notes. It seemed to me best to use Lamb's maturest 
text in the body of the book. 

The little articles usually printed separately and entitled by 
editors "The Old Actors" and "John Philip Kemble in 
' Antonio,' " which may be missed from this volume, will be found 
in their original position as portions of the three-part essay on 
"The Old Actors," in the Appendix to Vol. II. 

The portrait which serves as frontispiece to this volume is from 
a water-colour drawing, preserved in the British Museum, by G. 
F. Joseph, made in 1819, when Lamb was forty-four. 

E. V. L. 

May, 1903 



CONTENTS 



* Those pieces marked with one asterisk are now included in a complete edition of Lamb's works 
for the first time. 

** Those pieces marked with two asterisks are now publicly identified as Lamb's for the first 
time. 

TEXT NOTE 

PAGE PAGE 

Rosamund Gray i 388 

Curious Fragments, extracted from a commonplace-book which be- 
longed to Robert Burton, the famous Author of The Anatomy of 

Melancholy ..,....,,. 31 394 

•G. F. Cooke in " Richard the Third " 36 398 

The Londoner 39 400 

Characters of Dramatic Writers, Contemporary with Shakspeate . 40 403 

On the Inconveniences Resulting from Being Hanged ... 56 405 
On the Danger of Confounding Moral with Personal Deformity ; 
with a Hint to those who have the Framing of Advertisements 

for Apprehending Offenders 64 406 

On the Ambiguities Arising from Proper Names .... 69 407 
On the Genius and Character of Hogarth ; with some Remarks on 

a Passage in the Writings of the Late Mr. Barry . . . 70 407 
On the Custom of Hissing at the Theatres, with some Account of 

a Club of Damned Authors 87 411 

On Burial Societies ; and the Character of an Undertaker . , 92 414 
On the Tragedies of Shakspeare, Considered viath Reference to 

their Fitness for Stage Representation 97 414 

Specimens from the Writings of Fuller, the Church Historian . . 112 417 

Edax on Appetite 118 421 

Hospita on the Immoderate Indulgence of the Pleasures of the 

Palate 124 422 

The Good Clerk, a Character ; with some Account of " The Coin- 

plete English Tradesman " 127 422 

•Memoir of Robert Lloyd 132 429 

Confessions of a Drunkard 133 430 

Recollections of Christ's Hospital 139 434 



xii CONTENTS 

TEXT NOTB 

PAGE PAGB 

Table-Talk in The Examiner i49 439 

I. Reynolds and Leonardo Da Vinci . . • -149 439 

** II. The New Acting 151 440 

** III. Books with one Idea in them 153 44* 

** IV. A Sylvan Surprise i54 443 

** V. Street Conversation '54 443 

** VI. A Town Residence iS5 443 

** VII. Gray's Bard I55 443 

VIII. An American War for Helen 156 444 

** IX. Dryden and Collier I57 444 

** X. Play-house Memoranda 158 445 

Review oi The Excursion 160 446 

On the Melancholy of Tailors 172 449 

*0n Needle-work 176 45* 

On the Poetical Works of George Wither 181 453 

Four Dramatic Criticisms 184 458 

I. Miss Kelly at Bath 184 459 

II. Richard Bromc's " Jovial Crew " .... 186 461 

III. Isaac Bickerstaffs " Hypocrite " 188 461 

IV. New Pieces at the Lyceum 189 462 

Four Reviews . igi 463 

I. FaUtaff's Letters 191 464 

II. Charles Lloyd's Poems 195 468 

III. Barron Field's Poems 197 469 

* IV. Keats' " Lamia " 200 470 

**Sir Thomas More 203 471 

*The Confessions of H. F. V. H. Delamore, Esq 209 472 

The Gentle Giantess 211 474 

Letter to an Old Gentleman whose Education has been Neglected . 213 474 

Ritson versus John Scott the Quaker 218 475 

Letter of Elia to Robert Southey 226 476 

Guy Faux 236 485 

Nugae Criticae : On a Passage in the " Tempest " . . . . 243 489 

Original Letter of James Thomson 245 490 

Biographical Memoir of Mr. Listen . 248 490 

A Vision of Horns .......... 254 492 

The Illustrious Defunct 259 493 

Unitarian Protests 264 495 

Autobiography of Mr. Munden ...;... 268 496 

The " Lepus " Papers 270 496 

I. Many Friends 270 497 

II. Readers against the Grain 272 498 

III. Mortifications of an Author 274 498 

** IV. Tom Pry . 276 498 

•* V. Tom Pry's Wife 277 498 

** VI. A Character . . 279 499 



** 



«« 



CONTENTS xiii 

TEXT MOTE 

■on.. ... _.,, PAQB PAGE 

Reiiections in the Pillory 280 499 



The Last Peach 



283 501 



**" Odes and Addresses to Great People " 285 501 

The Religion of Actors 287 503 

A Popular Fallacy 290 503 

Reminiscences of Juke Judkins, Esq., of Birmingham . . . 292 505 

Contributions to Hone's Every-Day Book and Table Book , . 297 505 

I. Remarkable Correspondent 297 510 

II. Captain Starkey 299 511 

III. Twelfth of August 302 512 

IV. The Ass 303 '513 

V. In re Squirrels 306 514 

VI. An Appearance of the Season 307 515 

VII. The Months 308 516 

VIII. Reminiscence of Sir Jeffery Dunstan .... 312 516 

IX. Mrs. Gilpin Riding to Edmonton 314 518 

X. The Defeat of Time 315 519 

An Autobiographical Sketch 320 520 

Shakspeare's Improvers 321 520 

Saturday Night 324 522 

Estimate of De Foe's Secondary Novels 325 522 

•Clarence Songs 328 524 

**A True Story 329 525 

Recollections of a Late Royal Academician 331 525 

•The Latin Poems of Vincent Bourne 337 530 

The Death of Munden 341 531 

Thoughts on Presents of Game, &c. 343 533 

Table-Talk by the Late Elia 344 533 

*Samuel Johnson, the Whig 350 536 

••London Fogs 351 536 

The Death of Coleridge 351 537 

Cupid's Revenge . 352 537 

APPENDIX 

Essays and Notes not Certain to be Lamb's, but Probably His 

Shakspeare's Characters 367 538 

Mrs. Gould (Miss Burrell) in " Don Giovanni in London " . . 372 538 

Scraps of Criticism 373 539 

The Miscellany 376 541 

Munden's Farewell , 378 542 

Review of Dibdin's Comic Tales 380 543 

Excerptions from an Idler's Scrap-Book 381 544 

Dog Days 383 545 

Review of Moxon's Sonnets 384 546 

NOTES 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



Charles Lamb, aged 44 (after the drawing by G. F. Joseph) . . • Frontispiece 

The Beadle ^"S'* 307 

Mrs. Gilpin at Edmonton '• 3^4 



ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE NOTES 



Title-page of Lamb's WorAi, 1818 . . . . . 

Title-page of Rosamund Gray, 1798 

Hogarth's " The Rake's Progress," plate viii. 

,, ,, II II v^i" • • ' 

Poussin's " The Plague at Athens " . . . • , ■ 

Hogarth's " Gin Lane " 

,, " The Marriage k la Mode," plate ii. . 

Garrick's Tomb 

Hogarth's " The Child Moses before Pharaoh's Daughter " . 

Reynolds' " The Holy Family " 

Hogarth's " The Enraged Musician " . 

„ " The March to Finchley " . . . . 
„ " The Harlot's Progress," plate vi. 
„ "The Distressed Poet" .... 
„ " Industry and Idleness,'' plate v. . . 

„ " The Election Entertainment," plate i. 
,, " Four Groups of Heads," plate iii. 

Correggio's " Vice " 

Hogarth's " Beer Street " 

The Great Hall, Christ's Hospital .... 

Christ's Hospital Boy 

Reynolds' " The Death of Cardinal Beaufort " 

„ " Count Ugolino and his Family in Prison " 

Da Vinci's " Creator Mundi " 

Title-page of Falstaff's Letters 

Plate from the Baskett Prayer Book .... 
Captain Starkey. From Hone's Every-Day Book 
Sir Jeffery Dunstan. From Hone's Every-Day Book . 
Wilkie's " Saturday Night " 



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ROSAMUND GRAY 

(Written 1797-1798. First Edition 1798. Text of 1818) 
CHAPTER I 

IT was noontide. The sun was very hot. An old gentlewoman 
sat spinning in a little arbour at the door of her cottage. She 
was blind; and her grandaughter was reading the Bible to her. 
The old lady had just left her work, to attend to the story of Ruth. 

" Orpah kissed her mother-in-law ; but Ruth clave unto her." It 
was a passage she could not let pass without a comment. The 
moral she drew from it was not very new, to be sure. The girl had 
heard it a hundred times before — and a hundred times more she 
could have heard it, without suspecting it to be tedious. Rosamund 
loved her grandmother. 

The old lady loved Rosamund too ; and she had reason for so 
doing. Rosamund was to her at once a child and a servant. She 
had only her left in the world. They two lived together. 

They had once known better days. The story of Rosamund's 
parents, their failure, their folly, and distresses, may be told 
another time. Our tale hath grief enough in it. 

It was now about a year and a half since old Margaret Gray 
had sold off all her effects, to pay the debts of Rosamund's father 
— just after the mother had died of a bi'oken heart ; for her husband 
haid fled his country to hide his shame in a foreign land. At that 
period the old lady retired to a small cottage, in the village of 
Widford, in Hertfordshire. 

Rosamund, in her thirteenth year, was left destitute, without 
fortune or fHends : she went with her grandmother. In all this 
time she had served her faithfully and lovingly. 

Old Margaret Gray, when she first came into these parts, had 
eyes, and could see. The neighbours said, they had been dimmed 
by weeping : be that as it may, she was latterly grown quite blind. 
" God is very good to us, child ; I can feel you yet." This she 
would sometimes say ; and we need not wonder to hear, that Rosa- 
mund clave unto her grandmother. 
VOL. I. — 1 



2 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

Margaret retained a spirit unbroken by calamity. There was 
a principle within, which it seemed as if no outward circumstances 
could reach. It was a religious principle, and she had taught it 
to Rosamund; for the girl had mostly resided with her grand- 
mother from her earliest years. Indeed she had taught her all 
that she knew herself; and the old lady's knowledge did not extend 
a vast way. 

Margaret had drawn her maxims from observation ; and a pretty 
long experience in life had contributed to make her, at times, a 
little positive : but Rosamund never argued with her grandmother. 

Their hbrary consisted chiefly in a large family Bible, with notes 
and expositions by various learned expositors from Bishop Jewell 
downwards. 

This might never be suffered to lie about like other books — 
but was kept constantly wrapt up in a handsome case of green 
velvet, with gold tassels — the only relick of departed grandeur they 
had brought with them to the cottage — every thing else of value 
had been sold off for the purpose above mentioned. 

This Bible Rosamund, when a child, had never dared to open 
without permission; and even yet, from habit, continued the 
custom. Margaret had parted with none of her authority ; 
indeed it was never exerted with much harshness; and happy 
was Rosamund, though a girl grown, when she could obtain leave 
to read her Bible. It was a treasure too valuable for an indis- 
criminate use ; and Margaret still pointed out to her grandaughter 
where to read. 

Besides this, they had the " Complete Angler, or Contemplative 
Man's Recreation," with cuts — " Pilgrim's Progress," the first part — 
a Cookery Book, with a few dry sprigs of rosemary and lavender stuck 
here and there between the leaves, (I suppose, to point to some of 
the old lady's most favorite receipts,) and there was " Withei-'s 
Emblems," an old book, and quaint. The old fashioned pictures in 
this last book were among the first exciters of the infant Rosa- 
mund's curiosity. Her contemplation had fed upon them in 
rather older years. 

Rosamund had not read many books besides these ; or if any, 
they had been only occasional companions : these were to Rosa- 
mund as old friends, that she had long known. I know not whether 
the peculiar cast of her mind might not be traced, in part, to a 
tincture she had received, early in life, from Walton, and Wither, 
from John Bunyan, and her Bible. 

Rosamund's mind was pensive and reflective, rather than what 
passes usually for clever or acute. From a child she was remark- 
ably shy and thoughtful — ^this was taken for stupidity and want of 
feeling; and the child has been sometimes whipt for being a 



EOSAMUND GRAY 3 

stubborn thing, when her little heart was almost bursting with 
affection. 

Even now her grandmother would often reprove her, when she 
found her too grave or melancholy; give her sprightly lectures 
about good humour and rational mirth ; and not unfrequently fall 
a crying herself, to the great discredit of her lecture. Those tears 
endeared her the more to Rosamund. 

Margaret would say, " Child, I love you to cry, when I think you 
are only remembering your poor dear father and mother — I would 
have you think about them sometimes — it would be strange if you 
did not— but I fear, Rosamund ; I fear, girl, you sometimes think 
too deeply about your own situation and poor prospects in life. 
When you do so, you do wrong — remember the naughty rich man 
in the parable. He never had any good thoughts about God, and 
his reUgion : and that might have been your case." 

Rosamund, at these times, could not reply to her ; she was not 
in the habit of argmng with her grandmother ; so she was quite 
silent on these occasions — or else the girl knew well enough herself, 
that she had only been sad to think of the desolate condition of her 
best friend, to see her, in her old age, so infirm and blind. But she 
had never been used to make excuses, when the old lady said she was 
doing wrong. 

The neighbours were all very kind to them. The veriest rustics 
never passed them without a bow, or a pulling off of the hat — some 
shew of courtesy, aukward indeed, but affectionate — with a " good 
morrow, madam," or " young madam," as it might happen. 

Rude and savage natures, who seem born with a propensity to 
express contempt for any thing that looks like prosperity, yet felt 
respect for its declining lustre. 

The farmers, and better sort of people, (as they are called,) all 
promised to provide for Rosamund, when her grandmother should 
die. Margaret trusted in God, and believed them. 

She used to say, " I have lived many years in the world, and have 
never known people, good people, to be left without some friend ; a 
relation, a benefactor, a something. God knows our wants — that 
it is not good for man or woman to be alone ; and he always sends 
us a helpmate, a leaning-place, a somewhat." Upon this sure 
ground of experience, did Margaret build her trust in Providence. 



CHAPTER II 

Rosamund had just made an end of her story, (as I was about to 
relate,) and was listening to the application of the moral, (which 
said application she was old enough to have made herself, but her 



4 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

grandmother still continued to treat her, in many respects, as a 
child, and Rosamund was in no haste to lay claim to the title of 
womanhood,) when a young gentleman made his appearance, and 
interrupted them. 

It was young Allan Clare, who had brought a present of peaches, 
and some roses, for Rosamund. 

He laid his little basket down on a seat of the arbour ; and in a 
respectful tone of voice, as though he were addressing a parent, 
enquired of Margaret " how she did." 

The old lady seemed pleased with his attentions — answered his 
enquiries by saying, that " her cough was less troublesome a-nights, 
but she had not yet got rid of it, and probably she never might ; 
but she did not like to teaze young people with an account of her 
infirmities." 

A few kind words passed on either side, when young Clare, 
glancing a tender look at the girl, who had all this time been silent, 
took leave of them with saying " I shall bring Elinor to see you in 
the evening." 

When he was gone, the old lady began to prattle. 

" That is a sweet dispositioned youth, and I do love him dearly, 
I must say it — there is such a modesty in all he says or does — he 
should not come here so often, to be sure, but I don't know how to 
help it ; there is so much goodness in him, I can't find in my heart 
to forbid him. But, Rosamund, girl, I must tell you beforehand ; 
when you grow older, Mr. Clare must be no companion for you — 
while you were both so young, it was all very well — but the time is 
coming, when folks will think harm of it, if a rich young gentleman, 
like Mr. Clare, comes so often to our poor cottage. — Dost hear^ 
girl ? why don't you answer ? come, I did not mean to say any thing 
to hurt you— speak to me, Rosamund — nay, I must not have you 
be sullen — I don't love people that are sullen." 

And in this manner was this poor soul running on, unheard and 
unheeded, when it occurred to her, that possibly the girl might not 
be within hearing. 

And true it was, that Rosamund had slunk away at the first 
mention of Mr. Clare's good qualities : and when she returned, 
which was not till a few minutes after Margaret had made an end 
of her fine harangue, it is certain her cheeks did look very rosy. 
That might have been from the heat of the day or from exercise' 
for she had been walking in the garden. ' 

Margaret, we know, was blind ; and, in this case, it was lucky for 
Rosamund that she was so, or she might have made some not 
unlikely surmises. 

I must not have my reader infer from this, that I at all think 
it likely, a young maid of fourteen would fall in love without 



ROSAMUND GRAY 5 

asking her grandmother's leave — the thing itself is not to be 
conceived. 

To obviate all suspicions, I am disposed to communicate a little 
anecdote of Rosamund. 

A month or two back her grandmother had been giving her the 
strictest prohibitions, in her walks, not to go near a certain spot, 
which was dangerous from the circumstance of a huge overgrown 
oak tree spreading its prodigious arms across a deep chalk-pit, 
which they partly concealed. 

To this fatal place Rosamund came one day — female curiosity, we 
know, is older than the flood — let us not think hardly of the girl, 
if she partook of the sexual failing. 

Rosamund ventured further and further — climbed along one of 
the branches — approached the forbidden chasm — her foot slipped 
— she was not killed — but it was by a mercy she escaped — -other 
branches intercepted her fall — and with a palpitating heart she 
made her way back to the cottage. 

It happened that evening, that her grandmother was in one of 
her best humours, caressed Rosamund, talked of old times, and 
what a blessing it was they two found a shelter in their little 
cottage, and in conclusion told Rosamund, " she was a good girl, 
and God would one day reward her for her kindness to her old 
blind grandmother." 

This was more than Rosamund could bear. Her morning's dis- 
obedience came fresh into her mind, she felt she did not deserve all 
this from Margaret, and at last burst into a fit of crying, and made 
confession of her fault. The old gentlewoman kissed and forgave 
her. 

Rosamund never went near that naughty chasm again. 

Margaret would never have heard of this, if Rosamund had not 
told of it herself. But this young maid had a delicate moral sense, 
which would not suffer her to take advantage of her grandmother, 
to deceive her, or conceal any thing from her, though Margaret 
was old, and blind, and easy to be imposed upon. 

Another virtuous trait I recollect of Rosamund, and, now I am 
in the vein will tell it. 

Some, I know, will think these things trifles — and they are so — 
but if these minutice make my reader better acquainted with 
Rosamund, I am content to abide the imputation. 

These promises of character, hints, and early indications of a 
sweet nature, are to me more dear, and choice in the selection, 
than any of those pretty wild flowers, which this young maid, this 
virtuous Rosamund, has ever gathered in a fine May morning, to 
make a posy to place in the bosom of her old blind friend. 

Rosamund had a very just notion of drawing, and would 



6 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

often employ her talent in making sketches of the surrounding 
scenery. , 

On a landscape, a larger piece than she had ever yet attempted, 
she had now been working for three or four months. She had 
taken great pains with it, given much time to it, and it was nearly 
finished. For whose particular inspection it was designed, I will 
not venture to conjecture. We know it could not have been for 
her grandmother's. 

One day she went out on a short errand, and left her landscape 
on the table. When she returned she found it gone. 

Rosamund from the first suspected some mischief, but held her 
tongue. At length she made the fatal discovery. Margaret, in her 
absence, had laid violent hands on it ; not knowing what it was, 
but taking it for some waste paper, had torn it in half, and with 
ane half of this elaborate composition had twisted herself up — a 
thread-paper ! 

Rosamund spread out her hands at sight of the disaster, gave 
her grandmother a roguish smile, but said not a word. She knew 
the poor soul would only fret, if she told her of it, — and when once 
Margaret was set a fretting for other people's misfortunes, the fit 
held her pretty long. 

So Rosamund that very afternoon began another piece of the 
same size and subject ; and Margaret, to her dying day, never 
dreamed of the mischief she had unconsciously done. 



CHAPTER III 

Rosamund Gray was the most beautiful young creature that eyes 
ever beheld. 'Her face had the sweetest expression in it — a gentle- 
ness — a modesty — a timidity — a certain charm — a grace without a 
name. 

There was a sort of melancholy mingled in her smile. It was not 
the thoughtless levity of a girl — it was not the restrained simper of 
premature womanhood — it was something which the poet Young 
might have remembered, when he composed that perfect line, 

" Soft, modest, melancholy, female, fair." 

She was a mild-eyed maid, and every body loved her. Young 
Allan Clare, when but a boy, sighed for her. 

Her yellow hair fell in bright and curling clusters, like 

" those hanging locks 
Of young Apollo." 

Her voice was trembling and musical. A gi-aceful diffidence 



EOSAMUND GEAY 7 

pleaded for her whenever she spake — and, if she said but little, 
that little found its way to the heart. 

Young, and artless, and innocent, meaning no harm, and think- 
ing none ; affectionate as a smiling infant — playful, yet inobtrusive, 
as a weaned lamb — every body loved her. Young Allan Clare, 
when but a boy, sighed for her. 



The moon is shining in so brightly at my window, where I write, 
that I feel it a crime not to suspend my employment awhile to gaze 
at her. 

See how she glideth, in maiden honor, through the clouds, who 
divide on either side to do her homage. 

Beautiful vision ! — as I contemplate thee, an internal harmony is 
communicated to my mind, a moral brightness, a tacit analogy of 
mental purity ; a calm like that we ascribe in fancy to the favored 
inhabitants of thy fairy regions, " argent fields." 

I marvel not, O moon, that heathen people, in the " olden times," 
did worship thy deity-^Cynthia, Diana, Hecate. Christian Europe 
invokes thee not by these names now — her idolatry is of a blacker 
stain : BeUal is her God — she worships Mammon. 

False things are told concerning thee, fair planet — for I will ne'er 
believe, that thou canst take a perverse pleasure in distorting the 
brains of us poor mortals. Lunatics ! moonstruck ! Calumny in- 
vented, and folly took up, these names. I would hope better things 
from thy mild aspect and benign influences. 

Lady of Heaven, thou lendest thy pure lamp to light the way to 
the virgin mom^ner, when she goes to seek the tomb where her 
warrior lover lies. 

Friend of the distressed, thou speakest only peace to the lonely 
sufferer, who walks forth in the placid evening, beneath thy gentle 
light, to chide at fortune, or to complain of changed friends, or 
unhappy loves. 

Do I dream, or doth not even now a heavenly calm descend from 
thee into my bosom, as I meditate on the chaste loves of Rosamund 
and her Clare .'' 

CHAPTER IV 

Allan Clare was just two years elder than Rosamund. He was a 
boy of fourteen, when he first became acquainted with her — it was 
soon after she had come to reside with her grandmother at Widford. 
He met her by chance one day, carrying a pitcher in her hand, 
which she had been filling from a neighbom-ing well — the pitcher 
was heavy, and she seemed to be bending with its weight. 



8 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

Allan insisted on carrying it for her — for he thought it a sin, 
that a delicate young maid, like her, should be so employed, and 
he stand idle by. 

Allan had a propensity to do little kind offices for every body — but 
at the sight of Rosamund Gray his first fire was kindled — ^his young 
mind seemed to have found an object, and his enthusiasm was from 
that time forth awakened. His visits, from that day, were pretty 
frequent at the cottage. 

He was never happier than when he could get Rosamund to walk 
out with him. He would make her admire the scenes he admired — 
fancy the wild flowers he fancied — watch the clouds he was watching 
— and not unfrequently repeat to her poetry, which he loved, and 
make her love it. 

On their return, the old lady, who considered them yet as but 
children, would bid Rosamund fetch Mr. Clare a glass of her currant 
wine, a bowl of new milk, or some cheap dainty, which was more 
welcome to Allan than the costliest delicacies of a prince's court. 

The boy and girl, for they were no more at that age, grew fond 
of each other — more fond than either of them suspected. 

" They would sit, and sigh, 
And look upon each other, and conceive 
Not what they ail'd ; yet something they did ail, 
And yet were well — and yet they were not well ; 
And what was their disease, they could not tell. 



And thus, 



In this first garden of their simpleness 
They spent their childhood." 



A circumstance had lately happened, which in some sort altered 
the nature of their attachment. 

Rosamimd was one day reading the tale of " Julia de Roubigne " 
— a book which young Clare had lent her. 

Allan was standing by, looking over her, with one hand thi-own 
round her neck, and a finger of the other pointing to a passage in 
Julia's third letter. r t, f & 

" Maria ! in my hours of visionary indulgence, I have sometimes 
painted to myself a husband — no matter whom— comforting me 
amidst the distresses, which fortune had laid upon us I have 
smiled upon him through my tears ; tears, not of anguish, but of 
tenderness;— our children were playing around us, unconscious of 
misfortune ; we had taught them to be humble, and to be happy • 
our little shed was reserved to us, and their smiles to cheer it —I 
have imagined the luxury of such a scene, and affliction became a 
part of my dream of happiness." 

The girl blushed as she read, and trembled— she had a sort of 
confused sensation, that Allan was noticing her ^yet she durst not 



EOSAMUND GRAY 9 

lift her eyes from the book, but continued reading, scarce knowing 
"what she read. 

Allan guessed the cause of her confusion. Allan trembled too — 
his colour came and went — his feeling became impetuous — and, 
flinging both arms round her neck, he kissed his young favourite. 

Rosamund was vexed and pleased, soothed and frightened, all in 
a moment — a fit of tears came to her relief. 

Allan had indulged before in these little freedoms, and Rosamund 
had thought no harm of them — but from this time the girl grew 
timid and reserved — distant in her manner, and careful of her 
behaviour, in Allan's presence — not seeking his society as before, 
but rather shunning it — delighting more to feed upon his idea in 
absence. 

Allan too, from this day, seemed changed : his manner became, 
though not less tender, yet more respectful and diffident — his bosom 
felt a throb it had till now not known, in the society of Rosamund 
— and, if he was less familiar with her than in former times, that 
charm of delicacy had superadded a grace to Rosamund, which, 
while he feared, he loved. 

There is a mysterious character, heightened indeed by fancy 
and passion, but not without foundation in reality and observation, 
which true lovers have ever imputed to the object of their affections. 
This character Rosamund had now acquired with Allan — something 
angelic, perfect, exceeding nature. 

Young Clare dwelt very near to the cottage. He had lost his 
parents, who were rather wealthy, early in life ; and was left to the 
care of a sister, some ten years older than himself. 

Elinor Clare was an excellent young lady — discreet, intelligent, 
and affectionate. Allan revered her as a parent, while he loved her 
as his own familiar friend. He told all the little secrets of his heart 
to her — but there was one, which he had hitherto unaccountably 
concealed from her — ^namely, the extent of his regard for Rosa- 
mund. 

Elinor knew of his visits to the cottage, and was no stranger to 
the persons of Margaret and her grandaughter. She had several 
times met them, when she had been walking with her brother — a 
civility usually passed on either side — but Elinor avoided troubling 
her brother with any unseasonable questions. 

Allan's heart often beat, and he has been going to tell his sister 
all — but something like shame (false or true, I shall not stay to 
enquire) had hitherto kept him back — still the secret, unrevealed, 
hung upon his conscience like a crime — for his temper had a sweet 
and noble frankness in it, which bespake him yet a virgin from the 
world. 

There was a fine openness in his countenance — the character of 



10 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

it somewhat resembled Rosamund's — except that more fire and 
enthusiasm were discernible in Allan's — his eyes were of a darker 
blue than Rosamund's — his hair was of a chesnut colour — his 
cheeks ruddy, and tinged with brown. There was a cordial sweet- 
ness in Allan's smile, the like to which I never saw in any other 
face. 

Elinor had hitherto connived at her brother's attachment to 
Rosamund. Elinor, I believe, was something of a physiognomist, 
and thought she could trace in the countenance and manner of 
Rosamund qualities, which no brother of her's need be ashamed to 
love. 

The time was now come, when Elinor was desirous of knowing 
her brother's favorite more intimately — an opportunity offered of 
breaking the matter to Allan. 

The morning of the day, in which he carried his present of fruit 
and flowers to Rosamund, his sister had observed him more than 
usually busy in the garden, culling fruit with a nicety of choice not 
common to him. 

She came up to him, unobserved, and, taking him by the arm, 
enquired, with a questioning smile — " What are you doing, Allan ? 
and who are those peaches designed for .'' " 

" For Rosamund Gray " — he replied — and his heart seemed re- 
lieved of a burthen, which had long oppressed it. 

" I have a mind to become acquainted with your handsome friend 
— will you introduce me, Allan ? I think I should like to go and 
see her this afternoon." 

" Do go, do go, Elinor — you don't know what a good creature 
she is — and old blind Margaret, you will like her very much." 

His sister promised to accompany him after dinner ; and they 
parted. Allan gathered no more peaches, but hastily cropping a 
few roses to fling into his basket, went away with it half filled, being 
impatient to announce to Rosamund the coming of her promised 
visitor. 



CHAPTER V 

When AJlan returned home, he found an invitation had been left 
for him, in his absence, to spend that evening with a young friend, 
who had just quitted a public school in London, and was come to 
pass one night in his father's house at Widford, previous to his 
departure the next morning for Edinburgh University. 

It was Allan's bosom friend— they had not met for some months 
—and it was probable, a much longer time must intervene, before 
they should meet again. 



ROSAMUND GRAY 11 

Yet Allan could not help looking a little blank, when he first 
heard of the invitation. This was to have been an important 
evening. But Elinor soon relieved her brother, by expressing her 
readiness to go alone to the cottage. 

" I will not lose the pleasure I promised myself, whatever you 
may determine upon, Allan — I will go by myself rather than be 
disappointed." 

« Will you, will you, Elinor ? " 

Ehnor promised to go — and I believe, Allan, on a second thought, 
was not very sorry to be spared the aukwardness of introducing two 
persons to each other, both so dear to him, but either of whom might 
happen not much to fancy the other. 

At times, indeed, he was confident that Elinor Tnust love Rosa- 
mund, and Rosamund Tnust love Elinoi* — but there were also times 
in which he felt misgivings — it was an event he could scarce hope 
for very joy ! 

Allan's real presence that evening was more at the cottage than 
at the house, where his bodily semblance was visiting — his friend 
could not help complaining of a certain absence of mind, a coldness 
he called it. 

It might have been expected, and in the course of things pre- 
dicted, that Allan would have asked his friend some questions of 
what had happened since their last meeting, what his feelings were 
on leaving school, the probable time when they should meet again, 
and a hundred natural questions which friendship is most lavish of 
at such times ; but nothing of all this ever occurred to Allan — they 
did not even settle the method of their future correspondence. 

The consequence was, as might have been expected, Allan's friend 
thought him much altered, and, after his departure, sat down to 
compose a doleful sonnet about a " faithless friend." — I do not find 
that he ever finished it — indignation, or a dearth of rhymes, causing 
him to break off" in the middle. 



CHAPTER VI 

In my catalogue of the little library at the cottage, I forgot to 
mention a book of Common Prayer. My reader's fancy might 
easily have supplied the omission — old ladies of Margaret's stamp 
(God bless them) may as well be without their spectacles, or their 
elbow chair, as their prayer book — I love them for it. 

Margaret's was a handsome octavo, printed by Baskerville, the 
binding red, and fortified with silver at the edges. Out of this 
book it was their custom every afternoon to read the proper psalms 
appointed for the day. 



12 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

The way they managed was this : they took verse by verse- 
Rosamund rmd her httle portion, and Margaret repeated hers, in 
turn, from memory — for Margaret could say all the Psalter by 
heart, and a good part of the Bible besides. She would not unfre- 
quently put the girl right when she stumbled or skipped. This 
Margaret imputed to giddiness— a quality which Rosamund was 
by no means remarkable for— but old ladies, like Margaret, are not 
in all instances alike discriminative. 

They had been employed in this manner just before Miss Clare 
arrived at the cottage. The psalm they had been reading was the 
hundred and fourth— Margaret was naturally led by it into a dis- 
cussion of the works of creation. 

There had been thunder in the course of the day — an occasion 
of instruction which the old lady never let pass — she began — 

" Thunder has a very awful sound — some say, God Almighty is 
angry whenever it thunders — that it is the voice of God speaking 
to us — for my part, I am not afraid of it " — 

And in this manner the old lady was going on to particularise, 
as usual, its beneficial effects, in clearing the air, destroying of 
vermin, &c. when the entrance of Miss Clare put an end to her 
discourse. 

Rosamund received her with respectful tenderness — and, taking 
her grandmother by the hand, said, with great sweetness, "Miss 
Clare is come to see you, grandmother." 

" I beg pardon, lady — I cannot see you — but you are heartily 
welcome — is your brother with you, Miss Clare ? I don't hear 
him."— 

" He could not come, madam, but he sends his love by me." 

" You have an excellent brother. Miss Clare — but pray do us the 
honor to take some refreshment — Rosamund " 

And the old lady was going to give directions for a bottle of her 
curranb wine — when Elinor, smiling, said " she was come to take a 
cup of tea with her, and expected to find no ceremony." 

" After tea, I promise myself a walk with you, Rosamund, if 
your grandmother can spare you." — Rosamund looked at her 
grandmother. 

"O, for that matter, I should be sorry to debar the girl from 
any pleasure — I am sure it's lonesome enough for her to be with 
me always — and if Miss Clare will take you out, child, I shall do 
very well by myself till you return — it will not be the first time, 
you know, that I have been left here alone — some of the neighbours 
will be dropping in bye and bye — or, if not, I shall take no harm." 

Rosamund had all the simple manners of a child — she kissed her 
grandmother, and looked happy. 

All tea-time the old lady's discourse was little more than a pane- 



EOSAMUND GEAY 13 

gyric on young Clare's good qualities. Elinor looked at her young 
friend, and smiled. Rosamund was beginning to look grave — but 
there was a cordial sunshine in the face of Elinor, before which any 
clouds of reserve, that had been gathering on Rosamund's soon 
brake away. 

" Does your grandmother ever go out, Rosamund ? " 

Margaret prevented the girl's reply, by saying — " my dear youno- 
lady, I am an old woman, and very infirm — Rosamund takes me a few 
paces beyond the door sometimes — but I walk very badly — I love 
best to sit in our little arbour, when the sun shines — I can yet feel 
it warm and cheerful — and, if I lose the beauties of the season, 
I shall be very happy if you and Rosamund can take delight in 
this fine summer evening." 

" I shall want to rob you of Rosamund's company now and then, 
if we like one another. I had hoped to have seen you, madam, at 
our house. I don't know whether we could not make room for 
you to come and live with us — what say you to it ? — Allan would 
be proud to tend you, I am sure ; and Rosamund and I should be 
nice company." 

Margaret was all unused to such kindnesses, and wept — Mar- 
garet had a great spirit — yet she was not above accepting an 
obligation from a worthy person — there was a delicacy in Miss 
Clare's manner — she could have no interest, but pure goodness, 
to induce her to make the offer— at length the old lady spake from 
a full heart. 

" Miss Clare, this little cottage received us in our distress — it 
gave us shelter when we had no home — we have praised God in it 
— and, while life remains, I think I shall never part from it — 
Rosamund does every thing for me — 

" And will do, grandmother, as long as I live ; " — and then 
Rosamund fell a crying. 

" You are a good girl, Rosamund, and if you do but find friends 
when I am dead and gone, I shall want no better accommodation 
while I live — but, God bless you, lady, a thousand times, for your 
kind offer." 

Elinor was moved to tears, and, affecting a sprightliness, bade 
Rosamund prepare for her walk. The girl put on her white silk 
bonnet ; and Elinor thought she never beheld so lovely a crea- 
ture. 

They took leave of Margaret, and walked out together — they 
rambled over all Rosamund's favourite haunts — through many a 
sunny field — by secret glade or woodwalk, where the girl had 
wandered so often with her beloved Clare. 

Who now so happy as Rosamund ? She had oft-times heard 
Allan speak with great tenderness of his sister — she was now ram- 



14 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

bling, arm in arm, with that very sister, the " vaunted sister " of 
her friend, her beloved Clare. 

Not a tree, not a bush, scarce a wild flower in their path, but 
revived in Rosamund some tender recollection, a conversation per- 
haps, or some chaste endearment. Life, and a new scene of things, 
were now opening before her — she was got into a fairy !land of 
uncertain existence. 

Rosamund was too happy to talk much — but Elinor was de- 
lighted with her when she did talk :— the girl's remarks were 
suggested, most of them, by the passing scene— and they betrayed, 
all of them, the liveliness of present impulse : — her conversation did 
not consist in a comparison of vapid feeling, an interchange of sen- 
timent lip-deep— it had all the freshness of young sensation in it. 

Sometimes they talked of Allan. 

" Allan is very good," said Rosamund, " very good indeed to my 
grandmother — he will sit with her, and hear her stories, and read 
to her, and try to divert her a hundred ways. I wonder sometimes 
he is not tired. She talks him to death ! " 

" Then you confess, Rosamund, that the old lady does tire you 
sometimes." 

" O no, I did not mean that — it's very difierent— I am used to 
all her ways, and I can humour her, and please her, and I ought 
to do it, for she is the only friend I ever had in the world." 

The new friends did not conclude their walk till it was late, and 
Rosamund began to be apprehensive about the old lady, who had 
been all this time alone. 

On their return to the cottage, they found that Margaret had 
been somewhat impatient — old ladies, good old ladies, will be so 
at times — age is timorous and suspicious of danger, where no 
danger is. 

Besides, it was Margaret's bed-time, for she kept very good 
hours — indeed, in the distribution of her meals, and sundry other 
particulars, she resembled the livers in the antique world, more 
than might well beseem a creature of this. 

So the new friends parted for that night — Elinor having made 
Margaret promise to give Rosamund leave to come and see her the 
next day. 



CHAPTER VII 

Miss Clare, we may be sure, made her brother very happy, when 
she told him of the engagement she had made for the morrow and 
how delighted she had been with his handsome friend. 

Allan, I believe, got little sleep that night. I know not whether 



ROSAMUND GRAY 15 

joy be not a more troublesome bed-fellow than grief— hope keeps 
a body very wakeful, I know. 

Elinor Clare was the best good creature — the least selfish 
human being I ever knew — always at work for other people's good, 
planning other people's happiness — continually forgetful to consult 
for her own personal gratifications, except indirectly, in the welfare 
of another — while her parents lived, the most attentive of daughters 
— since they died, the kindest of sisters — I never knew but one 
like her. 

It happens that I have some of this young lady's letters in my 
possession — I shall present my reader with one of them. It was 
written a short time after the death of her mother, and addressed 
to a cousin, a dear friend of Elinor's, who was then on the point of 
being married to Mr. Beaumont, of Staffordshire, and had invited 
Elinor to assist at her nuptials. I will transcribe it with minute 
fidelity. 



Elinor Clare to Maria Leslie 

Widford, July the—, 17 — . 

Health, Innocence, and Beauty, shall be thy bridemaids, my 
sweet cousin. I have no heart to undertake the office. Alas ! what 
have I to do in the house of feasting ? 

Maria ! I fear lest my griefs should prove obtrusive. Yet bear 
with me a little — I have recovered already a share of my former 
spirits. 

I fear more for Allan than myself. The loss of two such parents, 
with so short an interval, bears very heavy on him. The boy 
hangs about me from morning till night. He is perpetually 
forcing a smile into his poor pale cheeks — you know the sweetness 
of his smile, Maria. 

To-day, after dinner, when he took his glass of wine in his hand, 
he burst into tears, and would not, or could not then, tell me the 
reason — afterwards he told me — " he had been used to drink 
Mamma's health after dinner, and that came in his head and made 
him cry." I feel the claims the boy has upon me — I perceive that 
I am living to some end — and the thought supports me. 

Already I have attained to a state of complacent feelings — my 
mother's lessons were not thrown away upon her Elinor. 

In the visions of last night her spirit seemed to stand at my bed- 
side — a light, as of noon day, shone upon the room — she opened 
my curtains — she smiled upon me with the same placid smile as in 
her life-time. I felt no fear. " Elinor," she said, " for my sake 
take care of young Allan," — and I awoke with calm feelings. 



16 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

Maria ! shall not the meeting of blessed spirits, think you, be 
something like this ? — I think, I could even now behold my mother 
without dread — I would ask pardon of her for all my past omissions 
of duty, for all the little asperities in my temper, which have so 
often grieved her gentle spirit when living. Maria ! I think she 
would not turn away from me. 

Oftentimes a feehng, more vivid than memory, brings her before 
me — I see her sit in her old elbow chair — her arms folded upon her 
lap — a tear upon her cheek, that seems to upbraid her unkind 
daughter for some inattention — I wipe it away and kiss her 
honored lips. 

Maria ! when I have been fancying all this, Allan will come in, 
with his poor eyes red with weeping, and taking me by the hand, 
destroy the vision in a moment. 

I am prating to you, my sweet cousin, but it is the prattle of 
the heart, which Maria loves. Besides, whom have I to talk to of 
these things but you — you have been my counsellor in times past, 
my companion, and sweet familiar friend. Bear with me a little — 
I mourn the " cherishers of my infancy." 

I sometimes count it a blessing, that my father did not prove 
the survivor. You know something of his story. You know 
there was a foul tale current — it was the busy malice of that bad 
man, S — — , which helped to spread it abroad — you will recollect 

the active good nature of our friends W and T ; what 

pains they took to undeceive people — with the better sort their 
kind labours prevailed ; but there was still a party who shut then- 
ears. You know the issue of it. My father's great spirit bore up 
against it for some time — my father never was a bad man — -but 
that spirit was broken at the last — and the greatly-injm-ed man 
was forced to leave his old paternal dwelling in Staffordshire — ^for 
the neighbours had begun to point at him. — Maria ! I have seen 
them point at him, and have been ready to drop. 

In this part of the country, where the slander had not reached, 
he sought a retreat — and he found a still more grateful asylum in 
the daily solicitudes of the best of wives. 

" An enemy hath done this," I have heard him say — and at such 
times my mother would speak to him so soothingly of forgiveness, 
and long-suffering, and the bearing of injuries with patience; 
would heal all his wounds with so gentle a touch ; — I have seen the 
old man weep like a child. 

The gloom that beset his mind, at times betrgiyed him into 
scepticism — he has doubted if there be a Providence ! I have heard 
him say, " God has built a brave world, but methinks he has left 
his creatures to bustle in it how they may." 

At such times he could not endure to hear my mother talk in a 



EOSAMUND GEAY 17 

religious strain. He would say, "Woman, have done — you con- 
found, you perplex me, when you talk of these matters, and for 
one day at least unfit me for the business of life." 

I have seen her look at him — O God, Maria! such a look! it 
plainly spake that she was willing to have shared her precious 
hope with the partner of her earthly cares — but she found a 
repulse — 

Deprived of such a wife, think you, the old man could have long 
endured his existence ? or what consolation would his wretched 
daughter have had to offer him, but silent and imbecile tears ? 

My sweet cousin, you will think me tedious — and I am so — but 
it does me good to talk these matters over. And do not you be 
alarmed for me — my sorrows are subsiding into a deep and sweet 
resignation. I shall soon be sufficiently composed, I know it, to 
participate in my friend's happiness. 

Let me call her, while yet 1 may, my own Maria Leslie ! 
Methinks, I shall not like you by any other name. Beaumont ! 
Maria Beaumont ! it hath a strange sound with it — I shall never be 
reconciled to this name — ^but do not you fear — Maria Leslie shall 
plead with me for Maria Beaumont. 

And now, my sweet Friend, 

God love you, and your 

Elinor Claee. 



I find in my collection several letters, written soon after the date 
of the preceding, and addressed all of them to Maria Beaumont. — 
I am tempted to make some short extracts from these — my tale 
will suffer interruption by them — but I was willing to preserve 
whatever memorials I could of Elinor Clare. 



From, Elinor Clare to Maria Beaumont 
(an extract) 

" I HAVE been strolling out for half an hour in the fields ; and 

my mind has been occupied by thoughts, which Maria has a right 
to participate. I have been bringing my mother to my recollection. 
My heart ached with the remembrance of infirmities, that made her 
closing years of life so sore a trial to her. 

I was concerned to think, that our family differences have been 

one source of disquiet to her. I am sensible that this last we are 

apt to exaggerate after a person's death — and surely, in the main, 

there was considerable harmony among the members of our little 

VOL. I. — 2 



18 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

family— still I was concerned to think, that we ever gave her 
gentle spirit disquiet. 

I thought on years back — on all my parents' friends — the 

H s, the F s, on D S , and on many a merry 

evening, in the fire-side circle, in that comfortable back parlour — 
it is never used now. — 

O ye Matravises'^ of the age, ye know not what ye lose, in 
despising these petty topics of endeared remembrance, associated 
circumstances of past times ; — ye know not the throbbings of the 
heart, tender yet affectionately familiar, which accompany the dear 
and honored names of father or of mother. 

Maria ! I thought on all these things ; my heart ached at the 
review of them — it yet aches, while I write this — but I am never 
so satisfied with my train of thoughts, as when they run upon 
these subjects — the tears, they draw from us, meliorate and soften 
the heart, and keep fresh within us that memory of dear friends 
dead, which alone can fit us for a re-admission to their society 
hereafter." 



(From another Letter) 

" I HAD a bad dream this morning — that Allan was dead — and 

who, of all persons in the world, do you think, put on mourning for 
him ? Why, Matravis. — This alone might cure me of superstitious 
thoughts, if I were inclined to them ; for why should Matravis 
m,ourn for us, or our family ? — Still it was pleasant to awake, and 
find it but a dream. — Methinks something like an awaking from an 
ill dream shall the Resurrection from the Dead be. — Materially 
difierent from our accustomed scenes, and ways of life, the World 
to come may possibly not be — still it is represented to us under 
the notion of a Rest, a Sabbath, a state of bliss." 



(From another Letter) 

" Methinks, you and I should have been bom under the same 

roof, sucked the same milk, conned the same hom-book, thumbed 
the same Testament, together : — for we have been more than 
sisters, Maria ! 

Something will still be whispering to me, that I shall one day be 
inmate of the same dwelling with my cousin, partaker with her in 
all the dehghts, which spring from mutual good offices, kind words, 
attentions in sickness and in health, — conversation, sometimes 
innocently trivial, and at others profitably serious; — books read 

^ This name will be explained presently. 



ROSAMUND GRAY 19 

and commented on, together; meals ate, and walks taken, to- 
gether, — and conferences, how we may best do good to this poor 
person or that, and wean our spu-its from the world's cares, without 
divesting ourselves of its charities. What a picture I have drawn, 
Maria ! — and none of all these things may ever come to pass." 



{From, another Letter) 

" Continue to write to me, my sweet cousin. Many good 

thoughts, resolutions, and proper views of things, pass through 
the mind in the course of the day, but are lost for want of 
committing them to paper. Seize them, Maria, as they pass, these 
Birds of Paradise, that show themselves and are gone, — and make 
a grateful present of the precious fugitives to your friend. 

To use a homely illustration, just rising in my fancy, — shall the 
good housewife take such pains in pickling and preserving her 
worthless fruits, her walnuts, her apricots, and quinces — and is 
there not much spiritual housewifery in treasuring up our mind's 
best fruits, — our heart's meditations in its most favored moments ? 

This said simile is much in the fashion of the old Moralizers, 
such as I conceive honest Baxter to have been, such as Quarles and 
Wither were, with their curious, serio-comic, quaint emblems. 
But they sometimes reach the heart, when a more elegant simile 
rests in the fancy. 

Not low and mean, like these, but beautifully familiarized to our 
conceptions, and condescending to human thoughts and notions, 
are all the discourses of our Lord — conveyed in parable, or 
similitude, what easy access do they win to the heart, through the 
medium of the delighted imagination ! speaking of heavenly things 
in fable, or in simile, drawn from earth, from objects common, 
accustom,ed. 

Life's business, with such delicious little interruptions as our 
correspondence affords, how pleasant it is ! — why can we not paint 
on the dull paper our whole feelings, exquisite as they rise up ? " 



(From, another Letter) 

" I HAD meant to have left off at this place ; but, looking 

back, I am sorry to find too gloomy a cast tincturing my last page 
— a representation of life false and unthankful. Life is not all 
vanity and disappointment — it hath much of evil in it, no doubt ; 
but to those who do not misuse it, it affords comfort, tem,porary 
comfort, much — much that endears us to it, and dignifies it — 
many true and good feelings, I trust, of which we need not be 



20 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

ashamed— hours of tranquillity and hope. — But the morning was 
dull and overcast, and my spirits were under a cloud. I feel my 



error. 



Is it no blessing, that we two love one another so dearly — that 
Allan is left me — that you are settled in life — that worldly affau-s 
go smooth with us both — above all, that our lot hath fallen to us 
in a Christian country.? Maria! these things are not little. I 
will consider life as a long feast, and not forget to say grace." 



{From, another Letter) 

" Allan has written to me — you know, he is on a visit at 

his old tutor's in Gloucestershire — he is to return home on Thurs- 
day — Allan is a dear boy — he concludes his letter, which is very 
affectionate throughout, in this manner — 

' Elinor, I charge you to learn the following stanza by heart — 

The monarch may forget his crown, 

That on his head an hour hath been ; 
The bridegroom may forget his bride 

Was made his wedded wife yestreen ; 
The mother may forget her child, 

That smiles so sweetly on her knee : 
But I'll remember thee, Glencairn, 

And all that thou hast done for me. 

'The lines are in Bums — you know, we read him for the first 
time together at Margate — and I have been used to refer them to 
you, and to call you, in my mind, Olencairn — for you were always 
very, very good to me. I had a thousand failings, but you would 
love me in spite of them all. I am going to drink youi- health.' " 



I shall detain my reader no longer from the narrative. 



CHAPTER VIII 

They had but four rooms in the cottage. Margaret slept in the 
biggest room up stairs, and her grandaughter in a kind of closet 
adjoining, where she could be within hearing, if her grandmother 
should call her in the night. 

The girl was often disturbed in that manner — two or three times 
in a night she has been forced to leave her bed, to fetch her grand- 
mother's cordials, or do some little service for her — but she knew 
that Mai-garet's ailings were real and pressing, and Rosamund 



ROSAMUND GRAY 21 

never complained — never suspected, that her grandmother's requisi- 
tions had any thing um-easonable in them. 

The night she parted with Miss Clare, she had helped Margaret 
to bed, as usual — and, after saying her prayers, as the custom was, 
kneeling by the old lady's bed-side, kissed her grandmother, and 
wished her a good night — Margaret blessed her, and charged her 
to go to bed directly. It was her customary injunction, and 
Rosamund had never dreamed of disobeying. 

So she retii'ed to her little room. The night was warm and 
clear — the moon very bright — her window commanded a view of 
scenes she had been tracing in the day-time with Miss Clare. 

All the events of the day past, the occurrences of their walk, 
arose in her mind. She fancied she should like to retrace those 
scenes — ^but it was now nine o'clock, a late hour in the village. 

Still she fancied it would be very charming — and then her grand- 
mother's injunction came powerfully to her recollection — she 
sighed, and turned from the window — and walked up and down 
her little room. 

Ever, when she looked at the window, the wish returned. It 
was not so very late. The neighbours were yet about, passing 
under the window to their homes — she thought, and thought 
again, till her sensations became vivid, even to painfulness — her 
bosom was aching to give them vent. 

The village clock struck ten ! — the neighbours ceased to pass 
under the window. Rosamund, stealing down stairs, fastened the 
latch behind her, and left the cottage. 

One, that knew her, met her, and observed her with some 
surprize. Another recollects having wished her a good night. 
Rosamund never returned to the cottage ! 

An old man, that lay sick in a small house adjoining to Mar- 
garet's, testified the next morning, that he had plainly heard the 
old creature calling for her grandaughter. All the night long 
she made her moan, and ceased not to call upon the name of 
Rosamund. But no Rosamund was there — the voice died away, 
but not till near day-break. 

When the neighbours came to search in the morning, Margaret 
was missing ! She had straggled out of bed, and made her way 
into Rosamund's room — worn out with fatigue and fright, when 
she found the girl not there, she had laid herself down to die — 
and, it is thought, she died praying — for she was discovered in a 
kneeling posture, her arms and face extended on the pillow, where 
Rosamund had slept the night before — a smile was on her face in 
death. 



22 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 



CHAPTER IX 

Fain would I draw a veil over the transactions of that night — 
but I cannot — grief, and burning shame, forbid me to be silent — 
black deeds are about to be made public, which reflect a stain upon 
our common nature. 

Rosamund, enthusiastic and improvident, wandered unprotected 
to a distance from her guardian doors — through lonely glens, and 
wood walks, where she had rambled many a day in safety — till 
she arrived at a shady copse, out of the hearing of any human 
habitation. 

Matravis met her. " Flown with insolence and wine," return- 
ing home late at night, he passed that way ! 

Matravis was a very ugly man. Sallow-complexioned ! and, if 
hearts can wear that colour, his heart was sallow-complexioned also. 

A young man with gray deliberation ! cold and systematic in 
all his plans; and all his plans were evil. His very lust was 
systematic. 

He would brood over his bad purposes for such a dreary length 
of time, that it might have been expected, some solitary check of 
conscience must have intervened to save him from commission. 
But that Light from Heaven was extinct in his dark bosom. 

Nothing that is great, nothing that is amiable, existed for this 
unhappy man. He feared, he envied, he suspected ; but he never 
loved. The sublime and beautiful in nature, the excellent and 
becoming in morals, were things placed beyond the capacity of his 
sensations. He loved not poetry — nor ever took a lonely walk to 
meditate — never beheld virtue, which he did not try to disbelieve, 
or female beauty and innocence, which he did not lust to 
contaminate. 

A sneer was perpetually upon his face, and malice grinning at 
his heart. He would say the most ill-natured things, with the 
least remorse, of any man I ever knew. This gained him the repu- 
tation of a wit — other traits got him the reputation of a villain. 

And this man formerly paid his court to Elinor Clare ! — with 
what success I leave my readers to determine. — It was not in 
Elinor's nature to despise any living thing — but in the estimation 
of this man, to be rejected was to be despised — and Matravis never 
forgave. 

He had long turned his eyes upon Rosamund Gray. To steal 
from the bosom of her friends the jewel they prized so much, the 
little ewe lamb they held so dear, was a scheme of delicate revenge, 
and Matravis had a two-fold motive for accomplishing this young 
maid's ruin. 



ROSAMUND GRAY 23 

Often had he met her in her favorite solitudes, but found her 
ever cold and inaccessible. Of late the girl had avoided straying 
far from her own home, in the fear of meeting him — but she had 
never told her fears to Allan. 

Matravis had, till now, been content to be a villain within the 
limits of the law — but, on the present occasion, hot fumes of wine, 
co-operating with his deep desire of revenge, and the insolence of 
an unhoped for meeting, overcame his customary, prudence, and 
Matravis rose, at once, to an audacity of glorious mischief. 

Late at night he met her, a lonely, unprotected, virgin — no 
friend at hand — no place near of refuge. 

Rosamund Gray, my soul is exceeding sorrowful for thee — I 
loath to tell the hateful circumstances of thy wrongs. Night and 
silence were the only witnesses of this young maid's disgrace — 
Matravis fled. 

Rosamund, polluted and disgraced, wandered, an abandoned 
thing, about the fields and meadows till day-break. Not caring 
to return to the cottage, she sat herself down before the gate 
of Miss Clare's house — in a stupor of grief. 

Elinor was just rising, and had opened the windows of her 
chamber, when she perceived her desolate young friend. — She 
ran to embrace her — she brought her into the house — she took 
her to her bosom — she kissed her — she spake to her; but Rosamund 
could not speak. 

Tidings came from the cottage. Margaret's death was an event, 
which could not be kept concealed from Rosamund. When the 
sweet maid heard of it, she languished, and fell sick — she never 
held up her head after that time. 

If Rosamund had been a sister, she could not have been kindlier 
treated, than by her two friends. 

Allan had prospects in life — might, in time, have married into 
any of the first families in Hertfordshire — but Rosamund Gray, 
humbled though she was, and put to shame, had yet a charm for 
him — and he would have been content to share his fortunes with 
her yet, if Rosamund would have lived to be his companion. 

But this was not to be — and the girl soon after died. She ex- 
pired in the arms of Elinor — quiet, gentle, as she lived — thankful, 
that she died not among strangers — and expressing by signs, rather 
than words, a gratitude for the most trifling services, the common 
offices of humanity. She died uncomplaining ; and this young 
maid, this untaught Rosamund, might have given a lesson to the 
grave philosopher in death. 



24 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

CHAPTER X 

I w^s but a boy when these events took place. All the village 
remember the story, and tell of Rosamund Gray, and old blind 

^?parted from Allan Clare on that disastrous night, and set out 
for Edinburgh the next morning, before the facts were commonly 
known— I heard not of them— and it was four months betore 1 
received a letter from Allan. p , ■ ■ . . j 

" His heart " he told me " was gone from him— for his sister had 
died of a phrensy fever ! "—not a word of Rosamund in the letter 
—I was left to collect her story from sources which may one day 

be explained. , , „ j. . i ■ 

I soon after quitted Scotland, on the death of my father, and 
returned to my native village. Allan had left the place, and I 
could gain no information, whether he were dead or living. 

I passed the cottage. I did not dare to look that way, or to 
enquire who lived there.— A little dog, that had been Rosamund's, 
was yelping in my path. I laughed aloud like one mad, whose 
mind had suddenly gone from him — I stared vacantly around me, 
like one alienated from common perceptions. 

But I was young at that time, and the impression became gradu- 
ally weakened, as I mingled in the business of life. It is now ten 
years since these events took place, and I sometimes think of them 
as unreal. Allan Clare was a dear friend to me — but there are 
times, when Allan and his sister, Margaret and her grandaughter, 
appear like personages of a dream — an idle dream. 

CHAPTER XI 

Strange things have happened unto me — I seem scarce awake — 
but I will recollect my thoughts, and try to give an account of 
what has befallen me in the few last weeks. 

Since my father's death our family have resided in London. I am 
in practice as a surgeon there. My mother died two years after we 
left Widford. 

A month or two ago I had been busying myself in drawing up 
the above narrative, intending to make it public. The employment 
had forced my mind to dwell upon facts, which had begun to fade 
from it — the memory of old times became vivid, and more vivid — 
I felt a strong desire to revisit the scenes of my native village — of 
the young loves of Rosamund and her Clare. 

A kind of dread had hitherto kept me back ; but I was restless 



ROSAMUND GRAY 25 

now, till I had accomplished my wish. I set out one morning to 
walk — I reached Widford about eleven in the forenoon — after a 
slight breakfast at my inn — where I was mortified to perceive, the 
old landlord did not know me again — (old Thomas Billet — he has 
often made angle rods for me when a child) — I rambled over all my 
accustomed haunts. 

Our old house was vacant, and to be sold. I entered, unmolested, 
into the room that had been my bed-chamber. I kneeled down on 
the spot where my little bed had stood — I felt like a child — I 
prayed like one — it seemed as though old times were to return 
again — I looked round involuntarily, expecting to see some face I 
knew — but all was naked and mute. The bed was gone. My little 
pane of painted window, through which I loved to look at the sun, 
when I awoke in a fine summer's morning, was taken out, and had 
been replaced by one of common glass. 

I visited, by turns, every chamber — they were all desolate and 
unfurnished, one excepted, in which the owner had left a harpsichord, 
probably to be sold — I touched the keys — I played some old Scottish 
tunes, which had delighted me when a child. Past associations 
revived with the music — blended with a sense of unreality, which 
at last became too powerful — I rushed out of the room to give vent 
to my feelings. 

I wandered, scarce knowing where, into an old wood, that stands 
at the back of the house — we called it the Wilderness. A well- 
known form was missing, that used to meet me in this place — it 
was thine, Ben Moxam — the kindest, gentlest, politest, of human 
beings, yet was he nothing higher than a gardener in the family. 
Honest creature, thou didst never pass me in my childish rambles, 
without a soft speech, and a smile. I remember thy good-natured 
face. But there is one thing, for which I can never forgive thee, 
Ben Moxam — that thou didst join with an old maiden aunt of 
mine in a cruel plot, to lop away the hanging branches of the old 
fir trees. — I remember them sweeping to the ground. 

I have often left my childish sports to ramble in this place — its 
glooms and its solitude had a mysterious charm for my young mind, 
nurturing within me that love of quietness and lonely thinking, 
which have accompanied me to maturer years. 

In this Wilderness I found myself after a ten years' absence. Its 
stately fir trees were yet standing, with all their luxuriant company 
of underwood — the squirrel was there, and the melancholy cooings 
of the wood-pigeon — all was as I had left it — my heart softened at 
the sight — it seemed, as though my character had been suffering a 
change, since I forsook these shades. 

My parents were both dead — I had no counsellor left, no ex- 
perience of age to direct me, no sweet voice of reproof. The Loed 



26 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

had taken away my friends, and I knew not where he had laid 
them. I paced round the wilderness, seeking a comforter. I 
prayed, that I might be restored to that state of innocence, in 
which I had wandered in those shades. 

Methought, my request was heard — for it seemed as though the 
stains of manhood were passing from me, and I were relapsing into 
the purity and simplicity of childhood. I was content to have been 
moulded into a perfect child. I stood still, as in a trance. I 
dreamed that I was enjoying a personal intercourse with my 
heavenly Father — and, extravagantly, put off the shoes from my 
feet — for the place where I stood, I thought, was holy ground. 

This state of mind could not last long — and I returned, with 
languid feelings to my Inn. I ordered my dinner — green peas and 
a sweetbread — it had been a favorite dish with me in my child- 
hood — I was allowed to have it on my birth days. I was impatient 
to see it come upon table — but, when it came, I could scarce eat a 
mouthful — my tears choaked me. I called for wine — I drank a 
pint and a half of red wine — and not till then had I dared to visit 
the church-yard, where my parents were interred. 

The cottage lay in my way — Margaret had chosen it for that 
very reason, to be near the church — for the old lady was regular in 
her attendance on public worship — I passed on — and in a moment 
found myself among the tombs. 

I"had been present at my father's burial, and knew the spot 
again — my mother's funeral I was prevented by illness from attend- 
ing — a plain stone was placed over the grave, with their initials 
carved upon it — for they both occupied one grave. 

I prostrated myself before the spot — I kissed the earth that 
covered them — I contemplated, with gloomy delight, the time when 
I should mingle my dust with their's — and kneeled, with my arms 
incumbent on the grave-stone, in a kind of mental prayer — for I 
could not speak. 

Haying performed these duties, I arose with quieter feelings, and 
felt leisure to attend to indifferent objects. — Still I continued in the 
church-yard, reading the various inscriptions, and moralizing on 
them with that kind of levity, which will not unfrequently spring 
up in the mind, in the midst of deep melancholy. 

I read of nothing but careful parents, loving husbands, and 
dutiful children. I said jestingly, where be all the had people 
buried ? Bad parents, bad husbands, bad children— what cemeteries 
are appointed for these ? do they not sleep in consecrated ground ? 
°l-^u* u"* ^ P^°"* fiction, a generous oversight, in the survivors, 
which thus tricks out men's epitaphs when dead, who, in their life- 
time, discharged the offices of life, perhaps, but lamely ?— Their 
tailings, with their reproaches, now sleep with them in the grave. 



ROSAMUND GRAY 27 

Man wars not with the dead. It is a trait of human nature, for 
which I love it. 

I had not observed, till now, a little group assembled at the other 
end of the church-yard ; it was a company of children, who were 
gathered round a young man, dressed in black, sitting on a grave- 
stone. 

He seemed to be asking them questions — probably, about their 
learning — and one little dirty ragged-headed fellow was clambering 
up his knees to kiss him. — The children had been eating black 
cherries — for some of the stones were scattered about, and their 
mouths were smeared with them. 

As I drew near them, I thought I discerned in the stranger a 
mild benignity of countenance, which I had somewhere seen before 
— I gazed at him more attentively — 

It was Allan Clare ! sitting on the grave of his sister. 

I threw my arms about his neck. I exclaimed "Allan" — he 
turned his eyes upon me — he knew me — we both wept aloud— it 
seemed, as though the interval, since we parted, had been as 
nothing — I cried out, " come, and tell me about these things." 

I drew him away from his little friends — he parted with a 
show of reluctance from the church-yard — Margaret and her gran- 
daughter lay buried there, as well as his sister — I took him to my 
Inn — secured a room, where we might be private — ordered fresh 
wine — scarce knowing what I did, I danced for joy. 

Allan was quite overcome, and taking me by the hand he said, 
" this repays me for all." 

It was a proud day for me — I had found the friend I thought 
dead — earth seemed to me no longer valuable, than as it contained 
him ; and existence a blessing no longer than while I should live 
to be his comforter. 

I began, at leisure, to survey him with more attention. Time 
and grief had left few traces of that fine enthusiasm, which once 
burned in his countenance — his eyes had lost their original fire, but 
they retained an uncommon sweetness and, whenever they were 
turned upon me, their smile pierced to my heart. 

" Allan, I fear you have been a sufferer." He replied not, and I 
could not press him further. I could not call the dead to life again.^ 

So we drank, and told old stories — and repeated old poetry — 
and sang old songs — as if nothing had happened. — We sat till very 
late — I forgot that I had purposed returning to town that evening 
— to Allan all places were alike — I grew noisy, he grew cheerful — 
Allan's old manners, old enthusiasm, were returning upon him — 
we laughed, we wept, we mingled our tears, and talked extra- 
vagantly. 

Allan was my chamber-fellow that night — and lay awake, plan- 



28 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

ning schemes of living together under the same roof, entering upon 
similar pursuits ; — and praising God, that we had met. 

I was obliged to return to town the next morning, and Allan 
proposed to accompany me. — " Since the death of his sister," he 
told me, " he had been a wanderer." 

In the course of our walk he unbosomed himself without reserve 

told me many particulars of his way of life for the last nine or 

ten years, which I do not feel myself at liberty to divulge. 

Once, on my attempting to cheer him, when I perceived him over 
thoughtful, he replied to me in these words :— 

" Do not regard me as unhappy, when you catch me in these 
moods. I am never more happy than at times, when, by the cast of 
my countenance, men judge me most miserable. 

"My friend, the events, which have left this sadness behind 
them, are of no recent date. The melancholy, which comes over 
me with the recollection of them, is not hurtful, but only tends to 
soften and tranquillize my mind, to detach me from the restlessness 
of human pursuits. 

"The stronger I feel this detachment, the more I find myself 
drawn heavenward to the contemplation of spiritual objects. 

" I love to keep old friendships alive and warm within me, 
because I expect a renewal of them in the World of Spirits. 

" I am a wandering and unconnected thing on the earth. I have 
made no new friendships, that can compensate me for the loss of 
the old — and the more I know mankind, the more does it become 
necessary for me to supply their loss by little images, recollections, 
and circumstances, of past pleasures. 

" I am sensible that I am surrounded by a multitude of very 
worthy people, plain-hearted souls, sincere, and kind. — But they 
have hitherto eluded my pursuit, and wiU continue to bless the 
little circle of their families and friends, while I must remain a 
stranger to them. 

" Kept at a distance by mankind, I have not ceased to love them 
— and could I find the cruel persecutor, the malignant instrument 
of God's j udgments on me and mine, I think I would forgive, and 
try to love him too. 

" I have been a quiet sufferer. From the beginning of my 
calamities it was given to me, not to see the hand of man in them. 
I perceived a mighty arm, which none but myself could see, 
extended over me. I gave my heart to the Purifier, and my will 
to the Sovereign Will of the Universe. The irresistible wheels 
of destiny passed on in their everlasting rotation, — and I suffered 
myself to be carried along with them without complaining." 



ROSAMUND GRAY 29 



CHAPTER XII 



Allan told me, that for some years past, feeling himself disen- 
gaged from every personal tye, but not alienated from human 
sympathies, it had been his taste, his humour he called it, to 
spend a great portion of his time in hospitals and lazar houses. 

He had found a wayward pleasure, he refused to name it a 
virtue, in tending a description of people, who had long ceased to 
expect kindness or friendliness from mankind, but were content to 
accept the reluctant services, which the often-times unfeeling instru- 
ments and servants of these well-meant institutions deal out to the 
poor sick people under their care. 

It is not medicine, it is not broths and coarse meats, served up at 
a stated hour with all the hard formalities of a prison, — it is not 
the scanty dole of a bed to die on — which dying man requires from 
his species. 

Looks, attentions, consolations, — in a word, sympathies, are 
what a man most needs in this awful close of mortal sufferings. A 
kind look, a smile, a drop of cold water to the parched lip — for 
these things a man shall bless you in death. 

And these better things than cordials did Allan love to administer 
— to stay by a bed-side the whole day, when something disgusting 
in a patient's distemper has kept the very nurses at a distance — to 
sit by, while the poor wretch got a little sleep — and be there to 
smile upon him when he awoke — to slip a guinea, now and then, 
into the hands of a nurse or attendant — these things have been to 
Allan as privileges, for which he was content to live, choice marks, 
and circumstances, of his Maker's goodness to him. 

And I do not know whether occupations of this kind be not 
a spring of purer and nobler delight (certainly instances of a more 
disinterested virtue) than arises from what are called Friendships 
of Sentiment. 

Between two persons of liberal education, like opinions, and com- 
mon feelings, oftentimes subsists a Vanity of Sentiment, which 
disposes each to look upon the other as the only being in the 
universe worthy of friendship, or capable of understanding it, — 
themselves they consider as the solitary receptacles of all that is 
delicate in feeling, or stable in attachment : — when the odds are, 
that under every green hill, and in every crowded street, people of 
equal worth are to be found, who do more good in their generation, 
and make less noise in the doing of it. 

It was in consequence of these benevolent propensities, I have 
been describing, that Allan oftentimes discovered considerable 
inclinations in favor of my way of life, which I have before men- 



30 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

tioned as being that of a surgeon. He would frequently attend 
me on my visits to patients ; and I began to think, that he had 
serious intentions of making my pi'ofession his study. 

He was present with me at a scene — a death-bed scene — I shudder 
when I do but think of it. 



CHAPTER XIII 

I WAS sent for the other morning to the assistance of a gentleman, 
who had been wounded in a duel, — and his wounds by unskilful 
treatment had been brought to a dangerous crisis. 

The uncommonness of the name, which was Matravis, suggested 
to me, that this might possibly be no other than Allan's old enemy. 
Under this apprehension, I did what I could to dissuade Allan from 
accompanying me — but he seemed bent upon going, and even 
pleased himself with the notion, that it might lie within his ability 
to do the unhappy man some service. So he went with me. 

When we came to the house, which was in Soho-Square, we dis- 
covered that it was indeed the man — the identical Matravis, who 
had done all that mischief in times past — but not in a condition to 
excite any other sensation than pity in a heart more hard than 
Allan's. 

Intense pain had brought on a delirium — we perceived this on 
first entering the room — for the wretched man was raving to him- 
self—talking idly in mad unconnected sentences, — that yet seemed, 
at times, to have a reference to past facts. 

One while he told us his dream. " He had lost his way on a 
great heath, to which there seemed no end — it was cold, cold, cold 
— and dark, very dark — an old woman in leading-strings, blind, 
was groping about for a guide "—and then he frightened me,— for 
he seemed disposed to be jocular, and sang a song about " an old 
woman clothed in grey," and said " he did not believe in a devil." 

Presently he bid us " not tell Allan Clare "—Allan was hanging 
over him at that very moment, sobbing.— I could not resist the 
impulse, but cried out, " this is Allan Clare— Allan Clare is come 
to see you, my dear Sir."— The wretched man did not hear me, I 
believe, for he turned his head away, and began talking of charnel 
houses, and dead men, and " whether they knew any thing that 
passed in their coffins." 



Matravis died that night. 



CURIOUS FRAGMENTS 31 



CURIOUS FRAGMENTS, 

Extracted from a common-place book, which belonged to 
Robert Burton, the famous Author of The Anatomy 
of Melancholy 

(1800. First Published 1802. Text of 1818) 

EXTRACT I 

IDEMOCRITUS Junior have put my finishing pen to a tractate 
De Melancholia, this day December 5, 1620. First, I blesse 
the Trinity, which hath given me health to prosecute my worthlesse 
studies thus far, and make supplication, with a Laus Deo, if in any 
case these my poor labours may be found instrumental to weede out 
black melancholy, carking cares, harte-grief, from the mind of man. 
Sed hoc magis volo quam expecto. 

I turn now to my book, i nunc liber, goe forth, my brave 
Anatomy, child of my brain-sweat, and yee, candidi lectores, 
lo ! here I give him up to you, even do with him what you please, 
my masters. Some, I suppose will applaud, commend, cry him up 
(these are my friends) hee is a fios rarus, forsooth, a none-such, a 
Phoenix, (concerning whom see Plinius and Mandeuille, though 
Fienus de monstris doubteth at large of such a bird, whom Mon- 
taltus confuting argueth to have been a man maloe scrupulositatis, 
of a weak and cowardlie faith : Christopherus a Vega is with him 
in this.) Others again will blame, hiss, reprehende in many things, 
cry down altogether, my collections, for crude, inept, putid, post 
ccenam soripta, Goryate could write better upon a full Tneal, 
verbose, inerudite, and not sufficiently abounding in authorities, 
dogmata, sentences of learneder writers which have been before 
me, when as that first named sort clean otherwise judge of my 
labours to bee nothing else but a messe of opinions, a vortex 
attracting indiscriminate, gold, pearls, hay, straw, wood, excrement, 
an exchange, tavern, marte, for foreigners to congregate, Danes, 
Swedes, Hollanders, Lombards, so many strange faces, dresses, 
salutations, languages, all which Wolfius behelde with great con- 
tent upon the Venetian Rialto, as he describes diffusedly in his 
book the world's Epitome, which Sannazar so bepraiseth, e contra 
our Polydore can see nothing in it ; they call me singular, a pedant, 
fantastic, words of reproach in this age, which is all too neoteric and 
light for my humour. 

One Cometh to me sighing, complaining. He expected uni- 
versal remedies in my Anatomy ; so many cures as there are 



32 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

distemperatures among men. I have not put his affection in my 
cases. Hear you his case. My fine Sir is a lover, an inamorato, 
a Pyramus, a Romeo ; he walks seven years disconsolate, moping, 
because he cannot enjoy his miss, insanus amor is his melancholy^ 
the man is mad ; delirat, he dotes ; all this while his Glycera 
is rude, spiteful, not to be entreated, churlish, spits at him, 
yet exceeding fair, gentle eyes, (which is a beauty,) hair lustrous 
and smiling, the trope is none of mine, jEneas Sylvius hath 
crines ridentes — in conclusion she is wedded to his rival, a boore, 
a Gorydon, a rustic, omnino ignarus, he can scarce construe 
Corderius, yet haughty, fantastic, opiniatre. The lover travels,, 
goes into foreign parts, peregrinates, a/moris ergo, sees manners, 
customs, not English, converses with pilgrims, lying travellers, 
monks, hermits, those cattle, pedlars, travelling gentry, Egyptians, 
natural wonders, unicorns (though Aldohrandus will have them to 
be figments) satyrs, semi-viri, apes, monkeys, baboons, curiosities 
artificial, pyramides, Virgilius his tombe, relicks, bones, which are 
nothing but ivory as Melancthon judges, though Cornutus leanetb 
to think them bones of dogs, cats, (why not men ?) which subtill 
priests vouch to have been saints, martyrs, heu Pietas ! By that 
time he has ended his course, fugit hora, seven other years are 
expired, gone by, time is he should return, he taketh ship for 
Britaine, much desired of his friends, favebant venti, Neptune is 
curteis, after some weekes at sea he landeth, rides post to town, 
greets his family, kinsmen, compotores, those jokers his friends 
that were wont to tipple with him at alehouses ; these wonder 
now to see the change, quantum mutatus, the man is quite 
another thing, he is disenthralled, manumitted, he wonders what 
so bewitched him, he can now both see, hear, smell, handle, converse 
with his mistress, single by reason of the death of his rival, a widow 
having children, grown willing, prompt, amorous, shewing no such 
great dislike to second nuptials, he might have her for asking, 
no such thing, his mind is changed, he loathes his former meat, had 
liever eat ratsbane, aconite, his humour is to die a bachelour; 
marke the conclusion. In this humour of celibate seven other years 
are consumed in idleness, sloth, world's pleasures, which fatigate, 
satiate, induce wearinesse, vapours, tcedium vitce : When upon a 
day, behold a wonder, redit Amor, the man is as sick as ever, he is 
commenced lover upon the old stock, walks with his hand thrust in 
his bosom for negligence, moping he leans his head, face yellow, 
beard flowing and incomposite, eyes sunken, anhelus, breath 
wheezy and asthmatical, by reason of over-much sighing r 
society he abhors, solitude is but a hell, what shall he doe ? all 
this while his mistresse is forward, coming, amantissima, ready to 
jump at once into his mouth, her he hateth, feels disgust when 



CURIOUS FRAGMENTS 33 

she is but mentioned, thinks her ugly, old, a painted Jesabeel, 
Alecto, Megara, and Tisiphone all at once, a Corinthian Lais, a 
strumpet, only not handsome ; that which he affecteth so much, 
that which drives him mad, distracted, phrenetic, beside himself, 
is no beauty which lives, nothing in rerum naturd, (so he might 
entertain a hope of a cure) but something which is not, can never 
be, a certain fantastic opinion or notional image of his mistresse, 
that which she was, and that which hee thought her to be, in 
former times, how beautiful ! torments him, frets him, follows him, 
makes him that he wishes to die. 

This Capri chio. Sir Humourous, hee cometh to me to be cured. 
I coimsel marriage with his mistresse, according to Hippocrates his 
method, together with milk diet, herbs, aloes, and wild parsley, 
good in such cases, though Avicenna preferreth some sorts of wild 
fowl, teals, widgeons, becca ficos, which men in Sussex eat. He 
flies out in a passion, ho ! ho ; and falls to calling me names, 
dizzard, ass, lunatic, moper, Bedlamite, Pseudo-Democritus. I 
smile in his face, bidding him be patient, tranquil, to no pur- 
pose, he still rages, I think this man must fetch his remedies from 
Utopia, Fairy Land, Islands in the Moone, &c. 



EXTRACT II 

***** Much disputacyons of fierce wits amongst themselves, 
in logomachies, subtile controversies, many dry blows given on either 
side, contentions of learned men, or such as would be so thought, 
as Bodinus de Periodis saith of such an one, arrident amid 
ridet mundus, in English, this man his cronies they cocker him 
up, they flatter him, he would fayne appear somebody, meanwile 
the world thinks him no better than a dizzard, a ninny, a sophist. * * 
* * * Philosophy running mad, madness philosophizing, much 
idle-learned enquiries, what truth is ? and no issue, fruit, of all 
these noises, only huge books are written, and who is the wiser? 
***** Men sitting in the Doctor's chair, we marvel how they 
got there, being homines intellect'dspulverulenti,as Trincauellius 
notes ; they care not so they may raise a dust to smother the eyes 
of their oppugners ; homines parvulissimi as Lem,nius, whom 
Alcuin herein taxeth of a crude Latinism ; dwarfs, minims, the 
least little men, these spend their time, and it is odds but they 
lose their time and wits too into the bargain, chacing of nimble 
and retiring Truth : Her they prosecute, her still they worship, 
lihant, they make libations, spilling the wine, as those old Romans 
in their sacrificials, Cerealia, May-ga/mes : Truth is the game all 
these hunt after, to the extreme perturbacyon and drying up of 
VOL. I. — 3 



34 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

the moistures, humidutn radicale exsiccant, as Galen, in his 
counsels to one of these wear-wits, brain-moppers, spunges, saith. 
* * * * and for all this nunqwam metam attingunt, and how 
should they ? they bowle awry, shooting beside the marke ; whereas 
it should appear, that Truth, absolute on this planet of ours is 
scarcely to be found, but in her stede Queene Opinion predomi- 
nates, governs, whose shifting and ever mutable Lampas, me seemeth, 
is man's destinie to follow, she praecurseth, she guideth him, before 
his uncapable eyes she frisketh her tender lights, which entertayne 
the child-man, untill what time his sight be strong to endure the 
vision of Very Truth, which is in the heavens, the vision beatifical, 
as Anianus expounds in his argument against certain mad wits 
which helde God to be corporeous ; these were dizzards, fools, 
gothamites. * * * * but and if Very Truth be extant indeede 
on earth, as some hold she it is which actuates men's deeds, pur- 
poses, ye may in vaine look for her in the learned universities, halls, 
colleges. Truth is no Doctoresse, she takes no degrees at Paris or 
Oxford, amongst great clerks, disputants, subtile Aristotles, men 
nodosi ingenii, able to take Lully by the chin, but oftentimes 
to such an one as myself, an Idiota or common person, no great 
things, melancholizing in woods where waters are, quiet places by 
rivers, fountains, whereas the silly man expecting no such matter, 
thinketh only how best to delectate and refresh his mynde con- 
tinually with Natura her pleasaunt scenes, woods, water-falls, or 
Art her statelie gardens, parks, terraces, Belvideres, on a sudden 
the goddesse herself Truth has appeared, with a shyning lyghte, 
and a sparklyng countenance, so as yee may not be able lightly to 
resist her. ***** 



EXTRACT III 

This morning. May 2, 1662, having first broken my fast upon 
eggs and cooling salades, mellows, water-cresses, those herbes, 
according to Villanovus his prescription, who disallows the use of 
meat in a morning as gross, fat, hebetant, feral, altogether fitter 
for wild beasts than men, e contra commendeth this herb-diete for 
gentle, humane, active, conducing to contemplation in most men, 
I betook myselfe to the nearest fields. (Being in London I 
commonly dwell in the suburbes, as airiest, quietest, loci musis 
propriores, free from noises of caroches, waggons, mechanick, and 
base workes, workshoppes, also sights, pageants, spectacles of 
outlandhsh birds, fishes, crocodiles, Indians, mermaids, adde 
quarrels, fightings, wranglings of the common sort, plebs, the 
rabble, duelloes with fists, proper to this island, at which the 



CURIOUS FRAGMENTS 35 

stiletto'd and secrete Italian laughs.) Withdrawing myselfe from 
these buzzing and illiterate vanities, with a hezo las manos to the 
city, I begin to inhale, draw in, snuff up, as horses dilatis naribus 
snort the fresh aires, with exceeding great delight, when suddenly 
there crosses me a procession sad, heavy, dolourous, tristful!, 
melancholick, able to change mirth into dolour, and overcast a 
clearer atmosphere than possibly the neighbourhoods of so great a 
citty can afford. An old man, a poore man, deceased, is borne on 
men's shoulders to a poore buriall, without solemnities of hearse, 
mourners, plumes, mutce personoB, those personate actors that 
will weep if yee shew them a piece of silver ; none of those 
customed civilities of children, kinsfolk, dependants, following the 
coffin ; he died a poore man, his friends assessores opwm, those 
cronies of his that stuck by him so long as he had a penny, now 
leave him, forsake him, shun him, desert him ; they think it much 
to follow his putrid and stinking carcase to the grave ; his children, 
if he had any, for commonly the case stands thus, this poore man his 
son dies before him, he survives, poore, indigent, base, dejected, 
miserable, &c. or if he have any which survive him, sua negotia 
agunt, they mind their own business, forsooth, cannot, will not, 
find time, leisure, inclination, extremum rnunus perficere, to 
follow to the pit their old indulgent father, which loved them, 
stroked them, caressed them, cockering them up, quantum, potuit, 
as farre as his means extended, while they were babes, chits, 
m,ini7ns, hee may rot in his grave, lie stinking in the sun /or them, 
have no buriall at all, they care not. nefas ! Chiefly I noted 
the coffin to have been without a pall, nothing but a few planks, 
of cheapest wood that could be had, naked, having none of the 
ordinary symptomata of a funerall, those locularii which bare the 
body having on diversely coloured coats, and none black : (one of 
these reported the deceased to have been an almsman seven yeares, a 
pauoer, harboured and fed in the workhouse of St. Giles-in-the- 
Fields, to whose proper burying-ground he was now going for 
interment). All which when I behelde, hardly I refrained from 
weeping, and incontinently I fell to musing : " If this man had 
been rich, a Croesus, a Crassus, or as rich as Whittington, what 
pompe, charge, lavish cost, expenditure, of rich buriall, ceremoniall- 
obsequies, obsequious ceremonies, had been thought too good for 
such an one ; what store of panegyricks, elogies, funeral orations, 
&c. some beggarly poetaster, worthy to be beaten for his ill rimes, 
crying him up, hee was rich, generous, bountiful, polite, learned, 
a Mcecenas, while as in very deede he was nothing lesse : what weep- 
ing, sighing, sorrowing, honing, complaining, kinsmen, friends, 
relatives, fortieth cousins, poor relatives, lamenting for the deceased ; 
hypocriticall heirs, sobbing, striking their breasts, (they care not if 



36 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

he had died a year ago) ; so many clients, dependants, flatterers, 
parasites, cunning Gnathoes, tramping on foot after the hearse, 
all their care is, who shall stand fairest with the successour ; he 
mean time (like enough) spurns them from him, spits at them, 
treads them under his foot, will have nought to do with any such 
cattle. I think him in the right : Hoic sunt majora gravitate 
Heracliti. The follies are enough to give crying Heraclitus a 
fit of the spleene. 



G. F. COOKE IN "RICHARD THE THIRD" 

(1802) 

SOME few of us remember to have seen, and all of us have heard 
our fathers tell of Quin, and Garrick, and Barry, and some 
faint traditional notices are left us of their manner in particular 
scenes, and their stile of delivering certain emphatic sentences. 
Hence our curiosity is excited, when a new Hamlet or a new 
Richard makes his appearance, in the first place, to inquire, how 
he acted in the Closet scene, in the Tent scene ; how he looked, 
and how he started, when the Ohost came on, and how he cried 

Off with his head. So much for Buckingham. 

We do not reprehend this minute spirit of comparison. On the 
contrary, we consider it as a delightful artifice, by which we 
connect the recreations of the past with those of the present 
generation, what pleased our fathers with what pleases us. We 
love to witness the obstinate attachments, the unconquerable pre- 
judices (as they seem to us), of the old men, our seniors, the 
whimsical gratification they appear to derive from the very refusal 
to be gratified ; to hear them talk of the good old actors, whose 
race is for ever extinct. 

With these impressions, we attended the first appearance of Mr. 
Cooke, in the character of Richard the Third, last winter. We 
thought that he "bustled" through the scenes with at least as 
much spirit and effect as any of his predecessors whom we remember 
in the part, and was not deficient in the delivery of any of those 
rememberable speeches and exclamations, which old prescription 
hath set up as criteria of comparison. Now that the grace of 
freshness is worn off", and Mr. Cooke is no longer a novitiate 



G. F. COOKE IN « RICHARD THE THIRD " 37 

candidate for public favour, we propose to enter into the question 
— whether that popular actor is right or wrong in his conception 
of the great outhnes of the character; those strong essential 
differences which separate Richard from all the other creations 
of Shakespeare. We say of Shakespeare ; for though the Play, 
which passes for his upon the Stage, materially dilfers from that 
which he wrote under the same title, being in fact little better 
than a compilation or a cento of passages extracted from other of 
his Plays, and applied with gross violations of propriety (as we 
are ready at any time to point out), besides some miserable addi- 
tions, which he never could have written ; all together producing 
an inevitable inconsistency of character, sufficient to puzzle and 
confound the best Actor ; yet, in this chaos and perplexity, we are 
of opinion, that it becomes an Actor to shew his taste, by adhering, 
as much as possible, to the spirit and intention of the original 
Author, and to consult his safety in steering by the Light, which 
Shakespeare holds out to him, as by a great Leading Star. Upon 
these principles, we presume to censure Mr. Cooke, while we are 
ready to acknowledge, that this Actor presents us with a very 
original and very forcible portrait (if not of the man Richard, 
whom Shakespeare drew, yet) of the monster Richard, as he exists 
in the popular idea, in his own exaggerated and witty self-abuse, 
in the overstrained representations of the parties who were sufferers 
by his ambition ; and, above all, in the impertinent and wretched 
scenes, so absurdly foisted in by some, who have thought themselves 
capable of adding to what Shakespeare wrote. 

But of Mr. Cooke's Richard : 

1st. His predominant and masterly simulation. 

He has a tongue can wheedle with the Devil. 

It has been the policy of that antient and grey simulator, in all 
ages, to hide his horns and claws. The Richard of Mr. Cooke 
perpetually obtrudes his. We see the effect of his deceit uniformly 
successful, but we do not comprehend how it succeeds. We can 
put ourselves, by a very common fiction, into the place of the indi- 
viduals upon whom it acts, and say, that, in the like case, we should 
not have been alike credulous. The hypocrisy is too glaring and 
visible. It resembles more the shallow cunning of a mind which is 
its own dupe, than the profound and practised art of so powerful 
an intellect as Richard's. It is too obstreperous and loud, break- 
ing out into triumphs and plaudits at its own success, like an 
unexercised noviciate in tricks. It has none of the silent con- 
fidence, and steady self-command of the experienced politician ; 
it possesses none of that fine address, which was necessary to have 



38 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

betrayed the heart of Lady Anne, or even to have imposed upon 
the duller wits of the Lord Mayor and Citizens. 

M\w. His habitual jocularity, the effect of buoyant spirits, and 
an elastic mind, rejoicing in its own powers, and in the success of 
its machinations. This quality of unstrained mirth accompanies 
Richard, and is a prime feature in his character. It never leaves 
him ; in plots, in stratagems, and in the midst of his bloody 
devices, it is perpetually driving him upon wit, and jests, and per- 
sonal satire, fanciful allusions, and quaint felicities of phi-ase. It is 
one of the chief artifices by which the consummate master of dra- 
matic effect has contrived to soften the horrors of the scene, and to 
make us contemplate a bloody and vicious character with dehght. 
No where, in any of his plays, is to be found so much of sprightly 
colloquial dialogue, and soliloquies of genuine humour, as in 
Richard. This character of unlaboured mirth Mr. Cooke seems 
entirely to pass over, and substitutes in its stead the coarse, taunt- 
ing humour, and clumsy merriment, of a low-minded assassin. 

3dly. His personal deformity. — When the Richard of Mr. 
Cooke makes allusions to his own form, they seem accompanied 
with unmixed distaste and pain, like some obtrusive and haunt- 
ing idea — But surely the Richard of Shakespeare mingles in these 
allusions a perpetual reference to his own powers and capacities, by 
vi^hich he is enabled to surmount these petty objections ; and the 
joy of a defect conquered, or turned into an advantage, is one 
cause of these very allusions, and of the satisfaction, with which his 
mind recurs to them. These allusions themselves are made in an 
ironical and good humoured spirit of exaggeration — the most bitter 
of them are to be found in his self-congratulating soliloquy spoken 
in the very moment and crisis of joyful exultation on the success of 
his unheard of courtship. — No partial excellence can satisfy for 
this absence of a just general conception — otherwise we are 
inclined to admit, that, in the delivery of single sentences, in a 
new and often felicitous light thrown upon old and hitherto mis- 
construed passages, no actor that we have seen has gone beyond 
Mr. Cooke. He is always alive to the scene before him ; and by 
the fire and novelty of his manner, he seems likely to infuse some 
warm blood into the frozen declamatory stile, into which our 
theatres have for some time past been degenerating. 



THE LONDONER 39 

THE LONDONER 

(1802. Text of 1818) 
To the, Editor of the Reflector 

MR. REFLECTOR,— I was born under the shadow of St. 
Dunstan's steeple, just where the conflux of the eastern and 
western inhabitants of this twofold city meet and justle in friendly 
opposition at Temple-bar. The same day which gave me to the 
world, saw London happy in the celebration of her great annual feast. 
This I cannot help looking upon as a lively omen of the future great 
good will which I was destined to bear toward the city, resembling 
in kind that solicitude which every Chief Magistrate is supposed to 
feel for whatever concerns her interests and well being. Indeed I 
consider myself in some sort a speculative Lord Mayor of London : 
for though circumstances unhappily preclude me from the hope of 
ever arriving at the dignity of a gold chain and Spital Sermon, yet 
thus much will I say of myself in truth, that Whittington with his 
Cat (j ust emblem of vigilance and a furred gown) never went beyond 
me in afl^ection, which I bear to the citizens. 

I was born, as you have heard, in a crowd. This has begot in 
me an entire affection for that way of life, amounting to an almost 
insurmountable aversion from solitude and rural scenes. This 
aversion was never interrupted or suspended, except for a few years 
in the younger part of my life, during a period in which I had set 
my affections upon a charming young woman. Every man while 
the passion is upon him, is for a time at least addicted to groves 
and meadows and purling streams. During this short period of my 
existence, I contracted just familiarity enough with rural objects 
to understand tolerably well ever after the poets, when they declaim 
in such passionate terms in favor of a country life. 

For my own part, now the fit is past, I have no hesitation in 
declaring, that a-mob of happy faces crowding up at the pit door of 
Drury-lane Theatre, just at the hour of six, gives me ten thousand 
sincerer pleasures, than I could ever receive from all the flocks of 
silly sheep that ever whitened the plains of Arcadia or Epsom 
Downs. 

This passion for crowds is no where feasted so full as in London. 
The man must have a rare recipe for melancholy, who can be dull in 
Fleet-street. I am naturally inclined to hypochondria, but in 
London it vanishes, like all other ills. Often, when I have felt a 
weariness or distaste at home, have I rushed out into her crowded 
Strand, and fed my humour, till tears have wetted my cheek for un- 



40 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

utterable sympathies with the multitudinous moving picture, which 
she never fails to present at all hours, like the scenes of a shifting 
pantomime. 

The very deformities of London, which give distaste to others, 
from habit do not displease me. The endless succession of shops 
where Fancy miscalled Folly is supplied with perpetual gauds and 
toys, excite in me no puritanical aversion. I gladly behold every 
appetite supplied with its proper food. The obliging customer, and 
the obliged tradesman — things which live by bowing, and things 
which exist but for homage — do not affect me with disgust ; from 
habit I perceive nothing but urbanity, where other men, more 
refined, discover meanness : I love the very smoke of London, 
because it has been the medium most familiar to my vision. I 
see grand principles of honor at work in the dirty ring which 
encompasses two combatants with fists, and principles of no less 
eternal justice in the detection of a pickpocket. The salutary 
astonishment with which an execution is surveyed, convinces me 
more forcibly than a hundred volumes of abstract polity, that the 
universal instinct of man in all ages has leaned to order and good 
government. 

Thus an art of extracting morality from the commonest incidents 
of a town life, is attained by the same well-natured alchymy, with 
which the Foresters of Arden, in a beautiful country, 

P'ound tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, 
Sermons in stones, and good in every thing. 

Where has spleen her food but in London ? Humour, Interest, 
Curiosity, suck at her measureless breasts without a possibility of 
being satiated. Nursed amid her noise, her crowds, her beloved 
smoke, what have I been doing all my life, if I have not lent out 
my heart with usury to such scenes ! 

I am. Sir, your faithful servant, 

A Londoner. 



CHARACTERS OF DRAMATIC WRITERS, CONTEM- 
PORARY WITH SHAKSPEARE 

(1808. Text of 1818) 

WHEN I selected for publication, in 1808, Specimens of Eng- 
lish Dramatic Poets who lived about the time of Shakspeare, 
the kind of extracts which I was anxious to give were, not so much 



CHARACTERS OF DRAMATIC WRITERS 41 

passages of wit and humour, though the old plays are rich in such, 
as scenes of passion, sometimes of the deepest quality, interesting 
situations, serious descriptions, that which is more nearly aUied to 
poetry than to wit, and to tragic rather than to comic poetry. The 
plays which I made choice of were, with few exceptions, such as 
treat of human life and manners, rather than masques and Arcadian 
pastorals, with their train of abstractions, unimpassioned deities, 
passionate mortals — Claius, and Medorus, and Amintas, and Amar- 
illis. My leading design was, to illustrate what may be called the 
moral sense of our ancestors. To shew in what manner they felt, 
when they placed themselves by the power of imagination in trying 
circumstances, in the conflicts of duty and passion, or the strife of 
contending duties ; what sort of loves and enmities theirs were ; 
how their griefs were tempered, and their full-swoln joys abated : 
how much of Shakspeare shines in the great men his contemporaries, 
and how far in his divine mind and manners he surpassed them and 
all mankind. I was also desirous to bring together some of the 
most admired scenes of Fletcher and Massinger, in the estimation 
of the world the only dramatic poets of that age entitled to be 
considered after Shakspeare, and, by exhibiting them in the same 
volume with the more impressive scenes of old Marlowe, Heywood, 
Tourneur, Webster, Ford, and others, to shew what we had 
slighted, while beyond all proportion we had been crying up one 
or two favourite names. From the desultory criticisms which 
accompanied that publication, I have selected a few which I thought 
would best stand by themselves, as requiring least immediate refer- 
ence to the play or passage by which they were suggested. 



Christopher Marlowe 

Lust's Dominion, or the Lascivious Queen. — This tragedy is 
in King Cambyses' vein ; rape, and murder, and superlatives ; 
" huffing braggart puft lines," such as the play-writers anterior 
to Shakspeare are full of, and Pistol but coldly imitates. 

Tcmiburlaine the Great, or the Scythian Shepherd. — The 
lunes of Tamburlaine are perfect midsummer madness. Nebuchad- 
nazar's are mere modest pretensions compared with the thundering 
vaunts of this Scythian Shepherd. He comes in, drawn by con- 
quered kings, and reproaches these pampered jades of Asia that 
they can draw hut twenty miles a day. Till I saw this passage 
with my own eyes, I never believed that it was any thing more 
than a pleasant burlesque of mine ancient's. But I can assure my 
readers that it is soberly set down in a play, which their ancestors 
took to be serious. 



42 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

Edward the Second.— \n a very different style from mighty 
Tamburlaine is the tragedy of Edward the Second. The re- 
luctant pangs of abdicating royalty in Edward furnished hints, 
which Shakspeare scarcely improved in his Richard the Second; 
and the death-scene of Marlowe's king moves pity and terror beyond 
any scene antient or modern with which I am acquainted. 

The Rich Jew of Malta.— Marlowe's Jew does not approach so 
near to Shakspeare's, as his Edward the Second does to Richard the 
Second. Barabas is a mere monster brought in with a large 
painted nose to please the rabble. He kills in sport, poisons 
whole nunneries, invents infernal machines. He is just such an 
exhibition as a century or two earlier might have been played 
before the Londoners " by the royal command," when a general 
pillage and massacre of the Hebrews had been previously resolved 
on in the cabinet. It is curious to see a superstition wearing out. 
The idea of a Jew, which our pious ancestors contemplated with so 
much horror, has nothing in it now revolting. We have tamed 
the claws of the beast, and pared its nails, and now we take it to 
our arms, fondle it, write plays to flatter it ; it is visited by 
princes, affects a taste, patronizes the arts, and is the only liberal 
and gentlemanlike thing in Christendom. 

Doctor Faustus.- — The growing horrors of Faustus's last scene are 
awfully marked by the hours and half hours as they expire, and 
bring him nearer and nearer to the exactment of his dire compact. 
It is indeed an agony and a fearful colluctation. Marlowe is said 
to have been tainted with atheistical positions, to have denied God 
and the Trinity. To such a genius the history of Faustus must 
have been delectable food : to wander in fields where curiosity is 
forbidden to go, to approach the dark gulf near enough to look in, 
to be busied in speculations which are the rottenest part of the 
core of the fruit that fell fi-om the tree of knowledge.^ Barabas 
the Jew, and Faustus the conjurer, are offsprings of a mind which 
at least delighted to dally with interdicted subjects. They both 
talk a language which a believer would have been tender of putting 
into the mouth of a character though but in fiction. But the 
holiest minds have sometimes not thought it reprehensible to 
counterfeit impiety in the person of another, to bring Vice upon 
the stage speaking her own dialect ; and, themselves being armed 
with an unction of self-confident impunity, have not scrupled to 
handle and touch that familiarly, which would be death to others. 
Milton in the person of Satan has started speculations hardier than 
any which the feeble armoury of the atheist ever furnished ; and 

^ Error, entering into the world with Sin among us poor Adamites, may be said to 
spring from the tree of knowledge itself, and from the rotten kernels of that fatal 
apple. — Howell's Letters. 



CHAEACTERS OF DRAMATIC WRITERS 43 

the precise, strait-laced Richardson has strengthened Vice, from the 
mouth of Lovelace, with entangling sophistries and abstruse pleas 
against her adversary Virtue, which Sedley, Villiers, and Rochester, 
wanted depth of libertinism enough to have invented. 

Thomas Decker 

Old Fortunatus. — The humour of a frantic lover, in the scene 
where Orleans to his friend Galloway defends the passion with 
which himself, being a prisoner in the English king's court, is 
enamoured to frenzy of the king's daughter Agripyna, is done to 
the life. Orleans is as passionate an inamorato as any which 
Shakspeare ever drew. He is just such another adept in Love's 
reasons. The sober people of the world are with him 

A swarm of fools 

Crowding together to be counted wise. 

He talks " pure Biron and Romeo," he is almost as poetical as 
they, quite as philosophical, only a little madder. After all. 
Love's sectaries are a reason unto themselves. We have gone 
retrograde to the noble heresy, since the days when Sidney pro- 
selyted our nation to this mixed health and disease ; the kindliest 
symptom, yet the most alarming crisis in the ticklish state of 
youth ; the nourisher and the destroyer of hopeful wits ; the 
mother of twin births, wisdom and folly, valour and weakness j 
the servitude above fi-eedom ; the gentle mind's religion ; the 
liberal superstition. 

The Honest Whore. — There is. in the second part of this play, 
where Bellafront, a reclaimed harlot, recounts some of the miseries 
of her profession, a simple picture of honour and shame, contrasted 
without violence, and expressed without immodesty, which is worth 
all the strong lines against the harlot's profession, with which both 
parts of this play are offensively crowded. A satirist is always to 
be suspected, who, to make vice odious, dwells upon all its acts and 
minutest circumstances with a sort of relish and retrospective fond- 
ness. But so near are the boundaries of panegyric and invective, 
that a worn-out sinner is sometimes found to make the best de- 
claimer against sin. The same high-seasoned descriptions, which 
in his unregenerate state served but to inflame his appetites, in his 
new province of a moralist will serve him, a little turned, to expose 
the enormity of those appetites in other men. When Cervantes 
with such proficiency of fondness dwells upon the Don's library, 
who sees not that he has been a great reader of books of knight- 
errantry — perhaps was at some time of his life in danger of falling 
into those very extravagancies which he ridiculed so happily in his 
hero ? 



44 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

John Makston 

Antonio and Mellida. — The situation of Andrugio and Lucio, 
in the first part of this tragedy, where Andrugio Duke of Genoa 
banished his country, with the loss of a son supposed drowned, 
is cast upon the territory of his mortal enemy the Duke of 
Venice, with no attendants but Lucio an old nobleman, and 
a page — resembles that of Lear and Kent in that king's dis- 
tresses. Andrugio, like Lear, manifests a kinglike impatience, a 
turbulent greatness, an affected resignation. The enemies which 
he enters lists to combat, " Despair and mighty Grief and sharp 
Impatience," and the forces which he brings to vanquish them, 
" cornets of horse," &c. are in the boldest style of allegory. They 
are such a " race of mourners " as the " infection of sorrows loud " 
in the intellect might beget on some "pregnant cloud" in the 
imagination. The prologue to the second part, for its passionate 
earnestness, and for the tragic note of preparation which it sounds, 
might have preceded one of those old tales of Thebes or Pelops' 
line, which Milton has so highly commended, as free from the com- 
mon error of the poets in his day, of " intermixing comic stuff 
with tragic sadness and gravity, brought in without discretion cor- 
ruptly to gratify the people." It is as solemn a preparative as the 
" warning voice which he who saw the Apocalyps heard cry." 

What you Will. — I shall ne'er forget how he went cloath'd. 
Act I. Scene 1. — To judge of the liberality of these notions of 
dress, we must advert to the days of Gresham, and the consterna- 
tion which a phenomenon habited like the merchant here described 
would have excited among the flat round caps and cloth stockings 
upon 'Change, when those " original arguments or tokens of a 
citizen's vocation were in fashion, not more for thrift and useful- 
ness than for distinction and grace." The blank uniformity to 
which all professional distinctions in apparel have been long hasten- 
ing, is one instance of the decay of symbols among us, which, 
whether it has contributed or not to make us a more intellectual, 
has certainly made us a less imaginative people. Shakspeare knew 
the force of signs : a " malignant and a turban'd Turk." This 
"meal-cap miller," says the author of God's Revenge against 
Murder, to express his indignation at an atrocious outrage com- 
mitted by the miller Pierot upon the person of the fair Marieta. 

Author Unknown 

The Merry Devil of Edmovton. — The scene in this delightful 
comedy, in which Jerningham, " with the true feeling of a zealous 
friend," touches the griefs of Mounchensey, seems written to make 



CHARACTERS OF DRAMATIC WRITERS 45 

the reader happy. Few of our dramatists or novelists have attended 
enough to this. They torture and wound us abundantly. They 
are economists only in delight. Nothing can be finer, more gentle- 
manlike, and nobler, than the conversation and compliments of 
these young men. How delicious is Raymond Mounchensey's for- 
getting, in his fears, that Jerningham has a " Saint in Essex ; " and 
how sweetly his friend reminds him ! I wish it could be ascertained, 
which there is some grounds for believing, that Michael Drayton 
was the author of this piece. It would add a worthy appendage to 
the renown of that Panegyrist of my native Earth ; who has gone 
over her soil, in his Polyolbion, with the fidelity of a herald, and 
the painful love of a son ; who has not left a rivulet, so narrow that 
it may be stept over, without honorable mention ; and has animated 
hills and streams with life and passion beyond the dreams of old 
mythology. 

Thomas Heywood 

A Woman Killed with Kindness. — Hey wood is a sort oi prose 
Shakspeare. His scenes are to the full as natural and affecting. 
But we miss the poet, that which in Shakspeare always appears out 
and above the surface of the nature. Heywood's characters in this 
play, for instance, his country gentlemen, &c. are exactly what we 
see, but of the best kind of what we see, in life. Shakspeare makes 
us believe, while we are among his lovely creations, that they are 
nothing but what we are familiar with, as in dreams new things 
seem old ; but we awake, and sigh for the difference. 

The English Traveller. — Heywood's preface to this play is 
interesting, as it shews the heroic indifference about the opinion 
of posterity, which some of these great writers seem to have felt. 
There is magnanimity in authorship as in every thing else. His 
ambition seems to have been confined to the pleasure of hearing the 
players speak his lines while he lived. It does not appear that he 
ever contemplated the possibility of being read by after ages. What 
a slender pittance of fame was motive sufficient to the production of 
such plays as the English Traveller, the Challenge for Beauty, 
and the Woman Killed with Kindness ! Posterity is bound to 
take care that a writer loses nothing by such a noble modesty. 



Thomas Mibdleton and William Rowley 

A Fair Quarrel. — The insipid levelling morality to which the 
modern stage is tied down, would not admit of such admirable 
passions as these scenes are filled with. A puritanical obtuseness 
of sentiment, a stupid infantile goodness, is creeping among us, 



46 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

instead of the vigorous passions, and virtues clad in flesh and blood, 
with which the old dramatists present us. Those noble and liberal 
casuists could discern in the differences, the quan-els, the animosities 
of men, a beauty and truth of moral feeling, no less than in the 
everlastingly inculcated duties of forgiveness and atonement. With 
us, all is hypocritical meekness. A reconciliation-scene, be the occa- 
sion never so absurd, never fails of applause. Our audiences come 
to the theatre to be complimented on their goodness. They com- 
pare notes with the amiable characters in the play, and find a 
wonderful sympathy of disposition between them. We have a 
common stock of dramatic morality, out of which a writer may be 
supplied without the trouble of copying it from originals within his 
own breast. To know the boundaries of honour, to be judiciously 
valiant, to have a temperance which shall beget a smoothness in the 
angry swellings of youth, to esteem life as nothing when the sacred 
reputation of a parent is to be defended, yet to shake and tremble 
under a pious cowardice when that ark of an honest confidence is 
found to be frail and tottering, to feel the true blows of a real dis- 
grace blunting that sword which the imaginary strokes of a supposed 
false imputation had put so keen an edge upon but lately : to do, 
or to imagine this done in a feigned story, asks something more of 
a moral sense, somewhat a greater delicacy of perception in ques- 
tions of right and wrong, than goes to the writing of two or three 
hackneyed sentences about the laws of honour as opposed to the 
laws of the land, or a common-place against duelling. Yet such 
things would stand a writer now-a-days in far better stead than 
Captain Agar and his conscientious honour ; and he would be 
considered as a far better teacher of morality than old Rowley or 
Middleton, if they were living. 

William Rowley 

A New Wonder ; a Woman Never Vext. — The old play-writers 
are distinguished by an honest boldness of exhibition, they shew 
every thing without being ashamed. If a reverse in fortune is to be 
exhibited, they fairly bring us to the prison-grate and the alms- 
basket. A poor man on our stage is always a gentleman, he may 
be known by a peculiar neatness of apparel, and by wearing black. 
Our delicacy in fact forbids the dramatizing of distress at all. It 
is never shewn in its essential properties; it appears but as the 
adjunct of some virtue, as something which is to be relieved, from 
the approbation of which relief the spectators are to derive a 
certain soothing of self-referred satisfaction. We turn away from 
the real essences of things to hunt after their relative shadows, 
moral duties ; whereas, if the truth of things were fairly represented, 



CHARACTERS OF DRAMATIC WRITERS 47 

the relative duties might be safely trusted to themselves, and moral 
philosophy lose the name of a science. 

Thomas Middleton 

The Witch. — Though some resemblance may be traced between 
the charms in Macbeth, and the incantations in this play, which is 
supposed to have preceded it, this coincidence will not detract much 
from the originality of Shakspeare. His witches are distinguished 
from the witches of Middleton by essential differences. These are 
creatures to whom man or woman, plotting some dire mischief, might 
resort for occasional consultation. Those originate deeds of blood, 
and begin bad impulses to men. From the moment that their eyes 
first meet with Macbeth's, he is spell-bound. That meeting sways 
his destiny. He can never break the fascination. These witches 
can hurt the body, those have power over the soul. Hecate in 
Middleton has a son, a low buffoon : the hags of Shakspeare have 
neither child of their own, nor seem to be descended from any 
parent. They are foul anomalies, of whom we know not whence 
they are sprung, nor whether they have beginning or ending. As 
they are without human passions, so they seem to be without 
human relations. They come with thunder and lightning, and 
vanish to airy music. This is all we know of them. Except 
Hecate, they have no names ; which heightens their mysteriousness. 
The names, and some of the properties, which the other author has 
given to his hags, excite smiles. The Weird Sisters are serious 
things. Their presence cannot co-exist with mirth. But, in a 
lesser degree, the witches of Middleton are fine creations. Their 
power too is, in some measure, over the mind. They raise jars, 
jealousies, strifes, "like a thick scurf" over life. 

William Rowley, — Thomas Decker, — John Ford, &c. 

The Witch of Edmonton. — Mother Sawyer, in this wild play, 
differs from the hags of both Middleton and Shakspeare. She is 
the plain traditional old woman witch of our ancestors ; poor, de- 
formed, and ignorant ; the terror of villages, herself amenable to a 
justice. That should be a hardy sheriff, with the power of the 
county at his heels, that would lay hands upon the Weird Sisters. 
They are of another jurisdiction. But upon the common and 
received opinion, the author (or authors) have engrafted strong 
fancy. There is something frightfully earnest in her invocations to 
the Familiar. 



48 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 



Cyril Touhnecr 

The Revenger's Tragedy. — The reality and life of the dialogue, 
in which Vindici and Hippolito first tempt their mother, and then 
threaten her with death for consenting to the dishonour of their 
sister, passes any scenical illusion I ever felt. I never read it but 
my ears tingle, and I feel a hot blush overspread my cheeks, as if 
I were presently about to proclaim such malefactions of myself as the 
brothers here rebuke in their unnatural parent, in words more keen 
and dagger-like than those which Hamlet speaks to his mother. 
Such power has the passion of shame truly personated, not only to 
strike guilty creatures unto the soul, but to " appal " even those 
that are " free." 

John Webster 

The Duchess of Malfy. — All the several parts of the dreadful 
apparatus with which the death of the Duchess is ushered in, the 
waxen images which counterfeit death, the wild masque of madmen, 
the tomb-maker, the bellman, the living person's dirge, the morti- 
fication by degrees, — are not more remote fi"om the conceptions of 
ordinary vengeance, than the strange character of suffering which 
they seem to bring upon their victim is out of the imagination of 
ordinary poets. As they are not like inflictions of this life, so her 
language seems not of this world. She has lived among horrors till 
she is become "native and endowed [indued] unto that element." She 
speaks the dialect of despair ; her tongue has a smatch of Tartarus 
and the souls in bale. To move a horror skilfully, to touch a soul 
to the quick, to lay upon fear as much as it can bear, to wean and 
weary a life till it is ready to drop, and then step in with mortal 
instruments to take its last forfeit: this only a Webster can do. 
Inferior geniuses may " upon horror's head horrors accumulate,"^ 
but they cannot do this. They mistake quantity for quality; 
they " terrify babes with painted devils ; " but they know not how 
a soul is to be moved. Their terrors want dignity, their affright- 
ments are without decorum. 

The White Devil, or Vittoria Corombona. — This White Devil 
of Italy sets off a bad cause so speciously, and pleads with such an 
innocence-resembling boldness, that we seem to see that matchless 
beauty of her face which inspires such gay confidence into her, and 
are ready to expect, when she has done her pleadings, that her very 
judges, her accusers, the grave ambassadors who sit as spectators, 
and all the court, will rise and make proffer to defend her in spite 
of the utmost conviction of her guilt ; as the Shepherds in Don 
Quixote make proffer to follow the beautiful Shepherdess Marcela, 



CHARACTERS OF DRAMATIC WRITERS 49 

" without making any profit of her manifest resolution made there 
in their hearing." 

So sweet and lovely does she make the shame, 
Which, like a canker in the fragrant rose. 
Does spot the beauty of her budding name ! 

I never saw any thing like the funeral dirge in this play, for the 
death of Marcello, except the ditty which reminds Ferdinand of his 
drowned father in the Tempest. As that is of the water, watery ; 
so this is of the earth, earthy. Both have that intenseness of 
feeling, which seems to resolve itself into the element which it 
contemplates. 

In- a note on the Spanish Tragedy in the Specimens, I have 
said that there is nothing in the undoubted plays of Jonson which 
would authorize us to suppose that he could have supplied the 
additions to Hieronymo. I suspected the agency of some more 
potent spirit. I thought that Webster might have furnished them. 
They seemed full of that wild, solemn, preternatural cast of grief 
which bewilders us in the Duchess of Malfy. On second considera- 
tion, I think this a hasty criticism. They are more like the over- 
flowing griefs and talking distraction of Titus Andronicus. The 
sorrows of the Duchess set inward ; if she talks, it is little more 
than soliloquy imitating conversation in a kind of bravery. 



John Ford 

The Broken Heart. — I do not know where to find, in any play, 
a catastrophe so grand, so solemn, and so surprising as in this. 
This is indeed, according to Milton, to describe high passions and 
high actions. The fortitude of the Spartan boy, who let a beast 
gnaw out his bowels till he died without expressing a groan, is a 
faint bodily image of this dilaceration of the spirit, and exentera- 
tion of the inmost mind, which Calantha, with a holy violence 
against her nature, keeps closely covered, till the last duties of a 
wife and a queen are fulfilled. Stories of martyrdom are but of 
chains and the stake ; a little bodily suffering. These torments 

On the purest spirits prey, 

As on entrails, joints, and limbs. 

With answerable pains, but more intense. 

What a noble thing is the soul in its strengths and in its weak- 
nesses ! Who would be less weak than Calantha .-' Who can be so 
strong ? The expression of this transcendent scene almost bears us 
in imagination to Calvary and the Cross ; and we seem to perceive 
some analogy between the scenical sufferings which we are here 
VOL. I. — 4 



50 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

contemplating, and the real agonies of that final completion to 
which we dare no more than hint a reference. Ford was of the 
first order of poets. He sought for sublimity, not by parcels, in 
metaphors or visible images, but directly where she has her full 
residence in the heart of man ; in the actions and sufferings of the 
greatest minds. There is a grandeur of the soul above mountains, 
seas, and the elements. Even in the poor perverted reason of 
Giovanni and Annabella, in the play ^ which stands at the head 
of the modern collection of the works of this author, we discern 
traces of that fiery particle, which, in the irregular starting from 
out the road of beaten action, discovers something of a right line 
even in obliquity, and shews hints of an improveable greatness in 
the lowest descents and degradations of our nature. 



Fltlke Greville, Lord Beooke 

Alaham, Mustapha. — The two tragedies of Lord Brooke, printed 
among his poems, might with more propriety have been termed 
political treatises than plays. Their author has strangely contrived 
to make passion, character, and interest, of the highest order, 
subservient to the expression of state dogmas and mysteries. He 
is nine parts Machiavel and Tacitus, for one part Sophocles or 
Seneca. In this writer's estimate of the powers of the mind, the 
understanding must have held a most tyrannical pre-eminence. 
Whether we look into his plays, or his most passionate love-poems, 
we shall find all frozen and made rigid with intellect. The finest 
movements of the human heart, the utmost grandeur of which the 
soul is capable, are essentially comprised in the actions and speeches 
of Caelica and Camena. Shakspeare, who seems to have had a 
peculiar delight in contemplating womanly perfection, whom for 
his many sweet images of female excellence all women are in an 
especial manner bound to love, has not raised the ideal of the 
female character higher than Lord Brooke, in these two women, 
has done. But it requires a study equivalent to the learning of a 
new language to understand their meaning when they speak. It 
is indeed hard to hit : 

Much like thy riddle, Samson, in one day 
Or seven though one should musing sit. 

It is as if a being of pure intellect should take upon him to express 
the emotions of our sensitive natures. There would be all know- 
ledge, but sympathetic expressions, would be wanting. 

1 'Tis Pity she is a Whore. 



CHARACTERS OF DRAMATIC WRITERS 51 

Ben Jonson 

The Case is Altered. — The passion for wealth has worn out 
much of its grossness in tract of time. Our ancestors certainly 
conceived of money as able to confer a distinct gratification in 
itself, not considered simply as a symbol of wealth. The old 
poets, when they introduce a miser, make him address his gold 
as his mistress ; as something to be seen, felt, and hugged ; as 
capable of satisfying two of the senses at least. The substitution 
of a thin, unsatisfying medium in the place of the good old tangible 
metal, has made avarice quite a Platonic affection in comparison 
with the seeing, touching, and handling-pleasures of the old Chry- 
sophilites. A bank-note can no more satisfy the touch of a true 
sensualist in this passion, than Creusa could return her husband's 
embrace in the shades. See the Cave of Mammon in Spenser ; 
Barabas's contemplation of his wealth in the Rich Jew of Malta ; 
Luke's raptures in the City Madam; the idolatry and absolute 
gold-worship of the miser Jaques in this early comic production 
of Ben Jonson's. Above all hear Guzman, in that excellent old 
translation of the Spanish Rogue, expatiate on the " ruddy cheeks 
of your golden ruddocks, your Spanish pistolets, your plump and 
full-faced Portuguese, and your clear-skinned pieces of eight of 
Castile," which he and his fellows the beggars kept secret to them- 
selves, and did privately enjoy in a plentiful manner. "For to 
have them, to pay them away, is not to enjoy them; to enjoy 
them, is to have them lying by us ; having no other need of them 
than to use them for the clearing of the eye-sight, and the com- 
forting of our senses. These we did carry about with us, sewing 
them in some patches of our doublets near unto the heart, and as 
close to the skin as we could handsomely quilt them in, holding 
them to be restorative." 

Poetaster. — This Roman play seems written to confute those 
enemies of Ben in his own days and ours, who have said that he 
made a pedantical use of his learning. He has here revived the 
whole Court of Augustus, by a learned spell. We are admitted 
to the society of the illustrious dead. Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Tibullus, 
converse in our own tongue more finely and poetically than they 
were used to express themselves in their native Latin. Nothing 
can be imagined more elegant, refined, and court-like, than the 
scenes between this Louis the Fourteenth of antiquity and his 
literati. The whole essence and secret of that kind of intercourse 
is contained therein. The economical liberality by which greatness, 
seeming to waive some part of its prerogative, takes care to lose 
none of the essentials; the prudential liberties of an inferior, 
which flatter by commanded boldness and soothe with compli- 



52 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

mentary sincerity. These, and a thousand beautiful passages 
from his New Inn, his Cynthia's Revels, and from those numerous 
court-masques and entertainments which he was in the daily habit 
of furnishing, might be adduced to shew the poetical fancy and 
elegance of mind of the supposed rugged old bard. 

Alchemist. — The judgment is perfectly overwhelmed by the 
torrent of images, words, and book-knowledge, with which Epicure 
Mammon (Act 2, Scene 2) confounds and stuns his incredulous 
hearer. They come pouring out like the successive falls of Nilus. 
They " doubly redouble strokes upon the foe." Description out- 
strides proof. We are made to believe effects before we have 
testimony for their causes. If there is no one image which attains 
the height of the sublime, yet the confluence and assemblage of 
them all produces a result equal to the grandest poetry. The 
huge Zerxean army countervails against single Achilles. Epicure 
Mammon is the most determined ofl^pring of its author. It has 
the whole "matter and copy of the father — eye, nose, lip, the 
trick of his frown." It is just such a swaggerer as contemporaries 
have described old Ben to be. Meercraft, Bobadil, the Host of 
the New Inn, have all his image and superscription. But Mammon 
is arrogant pretension personified. Sir Samson Legend, in Love 
for Love, is such another lying, overbearing character, but he does 
not come up to Epicure Mammon. What a " towering bravery " 
there is in his sensuality ! he afffects no pleasure under a Sultan. 
It is as if " Egypt with Assyria strove in luxury." 

George Chapman 

Bussy D'Ambois, Byron's Conspiracy, Byron's Tragedy, &c. 
&c. — Webster has happily characterised the " full and heightened 
style " of Chapman, who, of all the English play- writers, perhaps 
approaches nearest to Shakspeare in the descriptive and didactic, in 
passages which are less purely dramatic. He could not go out of 
himself, as Shakspeare could shift at pleasure, to inform and animate 
other existences, but in himself he had an eye to perceive and a soul 
to embrace all forms and modes of being. He would have made a 
great epic poet, if indeed he has not abundantly shewn himself to be 
one ; for his Homer is not so properly a translation as the stories of 
Achilles and Ulysses re-written. The earnestness and passion 
which he has put into every part of these poems, would be incred- 
ible to a reader of mere modern translations. His almost Greek 
zeal for the glory of his heroes can only be paralleled by that fierce 
spirit of Hebrew bigotry, with which Milton, as if personating one 
of the zealots of the old law, clothed himself when he sat down to 
paint the acts of Samson against the uncircumcised. The great 



CHARACTERS OF DRAMATIC WRITERS 53 

obstacle to Chapman's translations being read, is their unconquer- 
able quaintness. He pours out in the same breath the most just 
and natural, and the most violent and crude expressions. He 
seems to grasp at whatever words come first to hand while the 
enthusiasm is upon him, as if all other must be inadequate to the 
divine meaning. But passion (the all in all in poetry) is every 
where present, raising the low, dignifying the mean, and putting 
sense into the absurd. He makes his readers glow, weep, tremble, 
take any affection which he pleases, be moved by words, or in spite 
of them, be disgusted and overcome their disgust. 

Francis Beaumont.— John Fletcher 

Maid's Tragedy. — One characteristic of the excellent old poets 
is, their being able to bestow grace upon subjects which naturally 
do not seem susceptible of any. I will mention two instances. 
Zelmane in the Arcadia of Sidney, and Helena in the All's Well 
that Ends Well of Shakspeare. What can be more unpromising at 
first sight, than the idea of a young man disguising himself in 
woman's attire, and passing himself off for a woman among women ; 
and that for a long space of time ? Yet Sir Philip has preserved 
so matchless a decorum, that neither does Pryocles' manhood suffer 
any stain for the effeminacy of Zelmane, nor is the respect due to 
the princesses at all diminished when the deception comes to be 
known. In the sweetly constituted mind of Sir Philip Sidney, 
it seems as if no ugly thought or unhandsome meditation could find 
a harbour. He turned all that he touched into images of honour 
and virtue. Helena in Shakspeare is a young woman seeking a man 
in marriage. The ordinary rules of coui-tship are reversed, the 
habitual feelings are crossed. Yet with such exquisite address this 
dangerous subject is handled, that Helena's forwardness loses her no 
honour ; delicacy dispenses with its laws in her favour, and nature, 
in her single case, seems content to suffer a sweet violation. 
Aspatia, in the Maid's Tragedy, is a character equally difficult, 
with Helena, of being managed with grace. She too is a slighted 
woman, refused by the man who had once engaged to marry her. 
Yet it is artfully contrived, that while we pity we respect her, and 
she descends without degradation. Such wonders true poetry and 
passion can do, to confer dignity upon subjects which do not seem 
capable of it. But Aspatia must not be compared at all points 
with Helena ; she does not so absolutely predominate over her 
situation but she suffers some diminution, some abatement of the 
full lustre of the female character, which Helena never does. Her 
character has many degrees of sweetness, some of delicacy ; but it 
has weakness, which, if we do not despise, we are soiTy for. After 



54 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

all Beaumont and Fletcher were but an inferior sort of Shakspeares 
and Sidneys. 

Philaster. — The character of Bellario must have been extremely 
popular in its day. For many years after the date of Philaster's 
first exhibition on the stage, scarce a play can be found without one 
of these women pages in it, following in the train of some pre- 
engaged lover, calling on the gods to bless her happy rival (his 
mistress), whom no doubt she secretly curses in her heart, giving 
rise to many pretty equivoques by the way on the confusion of sex, 
and either made happy at last by some surprising turn of fate, or 
dismissed with the joint pity of the lovers and the audience. Donne 
has a copy of verses to his mistress, dissuading her from a resolution 
which she seems to have taken up from some of these scenical 
representations, of following him abroad as a page. It is so earnest, 
so weighty, so rich in poetry, in sense, in wit, and pathos, that it 
deserves to be read as a solemn close in future to all such sickly 
fancies as he there deprecates. 

John Fletchee 

Thierry and Theodoret. — The scene where Ordella offers her 
life a sacrifice, that the king of France may not be childless, I have 
always considered as the finest in all Fletcher, and Ordella to be 
the most perfect notion of the female heroic character, next to 
Calantha in the Broken Heart. She is a piece of sainted nature. 
Yet noble as the whole passage is, it must be confessed that the 
manner of it, compared with Shakspeare's finest scenes, is faint 
and languid. Its motion is circular, not progressive. Each line 
revolves on itself in a sort of separate orbit. They do not join 
into one another like a running-hand. Fletcher's ideas moved 
slow ; his versification, though sweet, is tedious, it stops at every 
turn ; he lays line upon line, making up one after the other, adding 
image to image so deliberately, that we see their junctures. 
Shakspeare mingles every thing, runs line into line, embarasses 
sentences and metaphors ; before one idea has burst its shell, 
another is hatched and clamorous for disclosure. Another striking 
difference between Fletcher and Shakspeare, is the fondness of the 
former for unnatural and violent situations. He seems to have 
thought that nothing great could be produced in an ordinary way. 
The chief incidents in some of his most admired tragedies shew 
this.^ Shakspeare had nothing of this contortion in his mind, 
none of that craving after violent situations, and flights of strained 
and improbable virtue, which I think always betrays an imperfect 

1 Wife for a Month, Cupid's Revenge, Double Marriage, &c. 



CHARACTEES OF DRAMATIC WRITERS 55 

moral sensibility. The wit of Fletcher is excellent ^ like his serious 
scenes, but there is something strained and far-fetched in both. 
He is too mistrustful of Nature, he always goes a little on one side 
of her. Shakspeare chose her without a reserve : and had riches, 
power, understanding, and length of days, with her, for a dowry. 

Faithful Shepherdess. — If all the parts of this delightful pastoral 
had been in unison with its many innocent scenes and sweet lyric 
intermixtures, it had been a poem fit to vie with Comus or the 
Arcadia, to have been put into the hands of boys and virgins, 
to have made matter for young dreams, like the loves of Hermia 
and Lysander. But a spot is on the face of this Diana. Nothing 
short of infatuation could have driven Fletcher upon mixing with 
this " blessedness " such an ugly deformity as Cloe, the wanton 
shepherdess ! If Cloe was meant to set off Clorin by contrast, 
Fletcher should have known that such weeds by j uxta-position do 
not set off, but kill sweet flowers. 

Philip Massinger. — Thomas Deckee 

The Virgin Martyr. — This play has some beauties of so very 
high an order, that with all my respect for Massinger, I do not 
think he had poetical enthusiasm capable of rising up to them. 
His associate Decker, who wrote Old Fortunatus, had poetry 
enough for any thing. The very impurities which obtrude them- 
selves among the sweet pieties of this play, like Satan among the 
Sons of Heaven, have a strength of contrast, a raciness, and a glow, 
in them, which are beyond Massinger. They are to the religion of 
the rest what Caliban is to Miranda. 

Philip Massinger. — Thomas Middleton. — William Rowley 

Old Law. — There is an exquisiteness of moral sensibility, making 
one's eyes to gush out tears of delight, and a poetical strangeness 
in the circumstances of this sweet tragi-comedy, which are unlike 
any thing in the dramas which Massinger wrote alone. The pathos 
is of a subtler edge. Middleton and Rowley, who assisted in it, 
had both of them finer geniuses than their associate. 

James Shirley 

Claims a place amongst the worthies of this period, not so much 
for any transcendant talent in himself, as that he was the last of 
a great race, all of whom spoke nearly the same language, and had 

' Wit without Money, and his comedies generally. 



56 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

a set of moral feelings and notions in common. A new language, 
and quite a new turn of tragic and comic interest, came in with 
the Restoration. 



ON THE INCONVENIENCES RESULTING FROM BEING 

HANGED 

(1810. Text of 1818) 

To the Editor of the Reflector 

SIR, — I am one of those unhappy persons whose misfortunes, it 
seems, do not entitle them to the benefit of pure pity. All 
that is bestowed upon me of that kindest alleviator of human 
miseries, comes dashed with a double portion of contempt. My 
griefs have nothing in them that is felt as sacred by the bystanders. 
Yet is my affliction in truth of the deepest grain. The heaviest 
task that was ever given to mortal patience to sustain. Time, that 
wears out all other sorrows, can never modify or soften mine. Here 
they must continue to gnaw, as long as that fatal mark 

Why was I ever bom ? Why was innocence in my person suffered 
to be branded with a stain which was appointed only for the blackest 
guilt ? What had I done, or my parents, that a disgrace of mine 
should involve a whole posterity in infamy ? I am almost tempted 
to believe, that, in some pre-existent state, crimes to which this sub- 
lunary life of mine hath been as much a stranger as the babe that 
is newly born into it, have drawn down upon me this vengeance, so 
disproportionate to my actions on this globe. 

My brain sickens, and my bosom labours to be delivered of the 
weight that presses upon it, yet my conscious pen shrinks from the 
avowal. But out it must 

O, Mr. Reflector ! guess at the wretch's misery who now writes 
this to you, when, with tears and burning blushes, he is obliged to 
confess, that he has been hanged 

Methinks I hear an involuntary exclamation burst from you, as 
your imagination presents to you fearful images of your correspon- 
dent unknown, — hanged ! 

Fear not, Mr. Editor. No disembodied spirit has the honour of 
addressing you. I am flesh and blood, an unfortunate system of 
bones, muscles, sinews, arteries, like yourself. 



INCONVENIENCES OF BEING HANGED 57 

Then, I presume, you mean to be pleasant — That expression 
of yours, Mr. Correspondent, must be taken somehow in a 
m,etaphorical sense 

In the plainest sense, without trope or figure — Yes, Mr. Editor ! 
this neck of mine has felt the fatal noose, — these hands have 
tremblingly held up the corroborative prayer-book, — these lips 
have sucked the moisture of the last consolatory orange, — this 
tongue has chaunted the doleful cantata which no performer was 
ever called upon to repeat, — this face has had the veiling nightcap 
drawn over it 

But for no crime of mine. — Far be it from me to aiTaign the 
justice of my country, which, though tardy, did at length recognise 
my innocence. It is not for me to reflect upon judge or jury, 
now that eleven years have elapsed since the erroneous sentence 
was pronounced. Men will always be fallible, and perhaps circum- 
stances did appear at the time a little strong 

Suffice it to say, that after hanging four minutes, (as the spectators 
were pleased to compute it, — a man that is being strangled, I know 
from experience, has altogether a different measure of time from 
his friends who are breathing leisurely about him, — I suppose the 
minutes lengthen as time approaches eternity, in the same manner 
as the miles get longer as you travel northward — ), after hanging 
four minutes, according to the best calculation of the bystanders, a 
reprieve came, and I was cut down 

Really I am ashamed of deforming your pages with these tech- 
nical phrases — if I knew how to express my meaning shorter 

But to proceed. — My first care after I had been brought to 
myself by the usual methods, (those methods that are so interesting 
to the operator and his assistants, who are pretty numerous on 
such occasions, — but which no patient was ever desirous of under- 
going a second time for the benefit of science), my first care was to 
provide myself with an enormous stock or cravat to hide the place — 
you understand me ; — my next care was to procure a residence as 
distant as possible from that part of the country where I had 
suffered. For that reason I chose the metropolis, as the place 
where wounded honour (I had been told) could lurk with the least 
danger of exciting enquiry, and stigmatised innocence had the best 
chance of hiding her disgrace in a crowd. I sought out a new 
circle of acquaintance, and my circumstances happily enabling me 
to pursue my fancy in that respect, I endeavoured, by mingling in 
all the pleasures which the town affords, to efface the memory of 
what I had undergone. 

But alas ! such is the portentous and all-pervading chain of 
connection which links together the head and members of this great 
community, my scheme of lying perdu was defeated almost at the 



58 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

outset. A countryman of mine, whom a foolish law-suit had 
brought to town, by chance met me, and the secret was soon 
blazoned about. 

In a short time, I found myself deserted by most of those who 
had been my intimate friends. Not that any guilt was supposed 
to attach to my character. My officious countryman, to do him 
justice, had been candid enough to explain my perfect innocence. 
But, somehow or other, there is a want of strong virtue in 
mankind. We have plenty of the softer instincts, but the heroic 
character is gone. How else can I account for it, that of all my 
numerous acquaintance, among whom I had the honour of ranking 
sundry persons of education, talents, and worth, scarcely here and 
there one or two could be found, who had the courage to associate 
with a man that had been hanged. 

Those few who did not desert me altogether, were persons of 
strong but coarse minds ; and from the absence of all delicacy in 
them I suffered almost as much as from the supei'abundance of a 
false species of it in the others. Those who stuck by me were the 
jokers, who thought themselves entitled by the fidelity which they 
had shewn towards me to use me with what familiarity they 
pleased. Many and unfeeling are the jests that I have suffered 
from these rude (because faithful) Achateses. As they past me 
in the streets, one would nod significantly to his companion and 
say, pointing to me, smoke his cravat, and ask me if I had 
got a wen, that I was so solicitous to cover my neck. Another 
would enquire. What news from * * * Assizes ? (which you may 
guess, Mr. Editor, was the scene of my shame), and whether the 
sessions was like to prove a maiden one ? A third would offer to 
ensure me from drowning. A fourth would teaze me with enquiries 
how I felt when I was swinging, whether I had not something like 
a blue flame dancing before my eyes ? A fifth took a fancy never 
to call me anything but Lazarus. And an eminent bookseller and 
publisher,— who, in his zeal to present the pubhc with new facts, 
had he lived in those days, I am confident, would not have 
scrupled waiting upon the person himself last mentioned, at the 
most critical period of his existence, to solicit a few facts relative 
to resuscitation, — had the modesty to offer me guineas per 

sheet, if I would write, in his Magazine, a physiological account 
of my feelings upon coming to myself. 

But these were evils which a moderate fortitude might have 
enabled me to struggle with. Alas ! Mr. Editor, the women, — 
whose good graces I had always most assiduously cultivated, from 
whose softer minds I had hoped a more delicate and generous 
sympathy than I found in the men, — the women began to shun 
me — this was the unkindest blow of all. 



INCONVENIENCES OF BEING HANGED 59 

But is it to be wondered at? How couldst thou imagine, 
wretchedest of beings, that that tender creature Seraphina would 
fling her pretty arms about that neck which previous circumstances 
had rendered infamous ? That she would put up with the refuse 
of the rope, the leavings of the cord ? Or that any analogy could 
subsist between the knot which binds true lovers, and the knot 
which ties malefactors ? 

I can forgive that pert baggage Flirtilla, who, when I com- 
plimented her one day on the execution which her eyes had done, 
rephed, that, to be sure, Mr. * * was a judge of those things. 
But from thy more exalted mind, Celestina, I expected a more 
unprejudiced decision. 

The person whose true name I conceal under this appellation, of 
all the women that I was ever acquainted with, had the most 
manly turn of mind, which she had improved by reading and the 
best conversation. Her understanding was not more masculine 
than her manners and whole disposition were delicately and truly 
feminine. She was the daughter of an officer who had fallen in the 
service of his country, leaving his widow and Celestina, an only 
child, with a fortune sufficient to set them above want, but not to 
enable them to live in splendour. I had the mother's permission 
to pay my addresses to the young lady, and Celestina seemed to 
approve of my suit. 

Often and often have I poured out my overcharged soul in the 
presence of Celestina, complaining of the hard and unfeeling 
prejudices of the world, and the sweet maid has again and again 
declared, that no irrational prejudice should hinder her from 
esteeming every man according to his intrinsic worth. Often has 
she repeated the consolatory assurance, that she could never con- 
sider as essentially ignominious an accident, which was indeed to 
be deprecated, but which might have happened to the most 
innocent of mankind. Then would she set forth some illustrious 
example, which her reading easily furnished, of a Phocion or a 
Socrates unjustly condemned ; of a Raleigh or a Sir Thomas 
More, to whom late posterity had done justice ; and by soothing 
my fancy with some such agreeable parallel, she would make 
me almost to triumph in my disgrace, and convert my shame 
into glory. 

In such entertaining and instructive conversations the time passed 
on, till I importunately urged the mistress of my affections to name 
a day for our union. To this she obligingly consented, and I 
thought myself the happiest of mankind. But how was I sur- 
prised one morning on the receipt of the following billet from 
my charmer : — 



60 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

Sir,— You must not impute it to levity, or to a worse failing, 
ingratitude, if, with anguish of heart, I feel myself compelled by 
irresistible arguments to recall a vow which I fear I made with too 
little consideration. I never can be yours. The reasons of my 
decision, which is final, are in my own breast, and you must ever- 
lastingly remain a stranger to them. Assure yourself that I can 
never cease to esteem you as I ought. 

Celestina. 

At the sight of this paper, I ran in frantic haste to Celestina's 
lodgings, where I learned, to my infinite mortification, that the 
mother and daughter were set off on a journey to a distant part of 
the country, to visit a relation, and were not expected to return in 
less than four months. 

Stunned by this blow, which left me without the courage to solicit 
an explanation by letter, even if I had known where they were, (for 
the particular address was industriously concealed from me), I waited 
with impatience the termination of the period, in the vain hope that 
I might be permitted to have a chance of softening the harsh 
decision by a personal interview with Celestina after her return. 
But before three months were at an end, I learned from the news- 
papers, that my beloved had — given her hand to another ! 

Heart-broken as I was, I was totally at a loss'to account for the 
strange step which she had taken ; and it was not till some years 
after that I learned the true reason from a female relation of hers, 
to whom it seems Celestina had confessed in confidence, that it was 
no demerit of mine that had caused her to break off the match so 
abruptly, nor any preference which she might feel for any other 
person, for she preferred me (she was pleased to say) to all mankind ; 
but when she came to lay the matter closer to her heart, she found 
that she never should be able to bear the sight (I give you her very 
words as they were detailed to me by her relation) the sight of a 
man in a nightcap, who had appeared on a public platform, it 
would lead to such a disagreeable association of ideas ! And to 
this punctilio I was sacrificed. 

To pass over an infinite series of minor mortifications, to which 
this last and heaviest might well render me callous, behold me here, 
Mr. Editor ! in the thirty-seventh year of my existence, (the twelfth, 
reckoning from my re-animation), cut off from all respectable con- 
nections, rejected by the fairer half of the community, — who in my 
case alone seem to have laid aside the characteristic pity of their 
sex ; punished because I was once punished unj ustly ; suffering for 
no other reason than because I once had the misfortune to suffer 
without any cause at all. In no other country, I think, but this. 



INCONVENIENCES OF BEING HANGED 61 

could a man have been subject to such a life-long persecution, when 
once his innocence had been clearly established. 

Had I crawled forth a rescued victim from the rack in the horrible 
dungeons of the Inquisition, — had I heaved myself up from a half 
bastinado in China, or been torn from the just-entering, ghastly 
impaling stake in Barbary, — had I dropt alive from the knout in 
Russia, or come off with a gashed neck from the half-mortal, scarce- 
in-time-retracted scymetar of an executioneering slave in Turkey, — 
I might have borne about the remnant of this frame (the mangled 
trophy of reprieved innocence) with credit to myself, in any of those 
barbarous countries. No scorn, at least, would have mingled with 
the pity (small as it might be) with which what was left of me 
would have been surveyed. 

The singularity of my case has often led me to enquire into the 
reasons of the general levity with which the subject of hanging is 
treated as a topic in this country. I say as a topic : for let the very 
persons who speak so lightly of the thing at a distance be brought 
to view the real scene,— let the platform be bona fide exhibited, 
and the trembling culprit brought forth, — the case is changed ; but 
as a topic of conversation, I appeal to the vulgar jokes which pass 
current in every street. But why mention them, when the politest 
authors have agreed in making use of this subject as a source of the 
ridiculous ? Swift, and Pope, and Prior, are fond of recurring to 
it. Gay has built an entire drama upon this single foundation. 
The whole interest of the Beggar's Opera may be said to hang 
upon it. To such writers as Fielding and Smollet it is a perfect 
bon[ne] bouche. — Hear the facetious Tom Brown, in his Comical 
View of London and Westminster, describe the Order of the 
Show at one of the Tyburn Executions in his time : — " Mr. 
Ordinary visits his melancholy flock in Newgate by eight. Doleful 
procession up Holborn-hill about eleven. Men handsome and 
proper that were never thought so before, which is some comfort 
however. Arrive at the fatal place by twelve. Burnt brandy, 
women, and sabbath-breaking, repented of. Some few penitential 
drops fall under the gallows. Sheriffs men, parson, pickpockets, 
criminals, all very busy. The last concluding peremptory psalm 
struck up. Show over by one." — In this sportive strain does this 
misguided wit think proper to play with a subject so serious, which 
yet he would hardly have done, if he had not known that there 
existed a predisposition in the habits of his unaccountable country- 
men to consider the subject as a jest. But what shall we say to 
Shakspeare, who, (not to mention the solution which the Grave- 
digger in Hamlet gives of his fellow workman's problem), in that 
scene in Measure for Measure, where the Clown calls upon Master 
Barnardine to get up and be hanged, which he declines on the 



62 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

score of being sleepy, has actually gone out of his way to gratify 
this amiable propensity in his countrymen ; for it is plain, from the 
use that was to be made of his head, and from Abhorson's asking, 
" is the axe upon the block, sirrah ? " that beheading, and not 
hanging, was the punishment to which Barnardine was destined. 
But Shakspeare knew that the axe and block were pregnant with 
no ludicrous images, and therefore falsified bhe historic truth of his 
own drama (if I may so speak) rather than he would leave out such 
excellent matter for a jest as the suspending of a fellow-creature in 
mid air has been ever esteemed to be by Englishmen. 

One reason why the ludicrous never fails to intrude itself into our 
contemplations upon this mode of death, I suppose to be, the 
absurd posture into which a man is thrown who is condemned to 
dance, as the vulgar delight to express it, upon nothing. To see 
him whisking and wavering in the air. 

As the wind you know will wave a man ; ^ 

to behold the vacant carcase, from which the life is newly dislodged, 
shifting between earth and heaven, the sport of every gust ; like a 
weather-cock, serving to shew from which point the wind blows ; 
like a maukin, fit only to scare away birds ; like a nest left to swing 
upon a bough when the bird is flown : these are uses to which we 
cannot without a mixture of spleen and contempt behold the human 
carcase reduced. We string up dogs, foxes, bats, moles, weasels. 
Man surely deserves a steadier death. 

Another reason why the ludicrous associates more forcibly with 
this than with any other mode of punishment, I cannot help think- 
ing to be, the senseless costume with which old prescription has 
thought fit to clothe the exit of malefactors in this country. Let 
a man do what he will to abstract from his imagination all idea of 
the whimsical, something of it will come across him when he con- 
templates the figure of a fellow-creature in the day-time (in however 
distressing a situation) in a night cap. Whether it be that this 
nocturnal addition has something discordant with day-light, or that 
it is the dress which we are seen in at those times when we are 
" seen," as the Angel in Milton expresses it, " least wise ; " this I 
am afraid will always be the case ; unless indeed, as in my instance, 
some strong personal feeling overpower the ludicrous altogether. 
To me, when I reflect upon the train of misfortunes which have 
pursued me through life, owing to that accursed drapery, the cap 
presents as purely frightful an object as the sleeveless yellow coat 
and devil-painted mitre of the San Benitos. — An ancestor of mine, 
who suffered for his loyalty in the time of the civil wars, was so 

^ Hieronimo in the Spanish tragedy. 



INCONVENIENCES OF BEING HANGED 63 

sensible of the truth of what I am here advancing, that on the 
morning of execution, no intreaties could prevail upon him to 
submit to the odious dishabille, as he called it, but he insisted upon 
wearing, and actually suffered in, the identical flowing periwig 
which he is painted in, in the gallery belonging to my uncle's seat in 
shire. 

Sufifer me, Mr. Editor, before I quit the subject, to say a word 
or two respecting the minister of j ustice in this country ; in plain 
words, I mean the hangman. It has always appeared to me that, 
in the mode of inflicting capital punishments with us, there is too 
much of the ministry of the human hand. The guillotine, as per- 
forming its functions more of itself and sparing human agency, 
though a cruel and disgusting exhibition, in my mind, has many 
ways the advantage over our way. In beheading, indeed, as it was 
formerly practised in England, and in whipping to death, as is 
sometimes practised now, the hand of man is no doubt sufiiciently 
busy; but there is something less repugnant in these downright 
blows than in the officious barber-like ministrings of the other. 
To have a fellow with his hangman's hands fumbling about your 
collar, adjusting the thing as your valet would regulate your cravat, 
valuing himself on his menial dexterity 

I never shall forget meeting my rascal, — I mean the fellow who 
officiated for me, — in London last winter. I think I see him now, — 
in a waistcoat that had been mine, — smirking along as if he knew 



In some parts of Germany, that fellow's office is by law declared 
infamous, and his posterity incapable of being ennobled. They 
have hereditary hangmen, or had at least, in the same manner as 
they had hereditary other great officers of state ; and the hangmen's 
famihes of two adjoining parishes intermarried with each other, to 
keep the breed entire. I wish something of the same kind were 
established in England. 

But it is time to quit a subject which teems with disagreeable 
images 

Permit me to subscribe myself, Mr. Editor, 

Your unfortunate friend, 

Pensilis. 



64 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

ON THE DANGER OF CONFOUNDING MORAL WITH 
PERSONAL DEFORMITY; WITH A HINT TO 
THOSE WHO HAVE THE FRAMING OF ADVER- 
TISEMENTS FOR APPREHENDING OFFENDERS 

(1810. Text of 1818) 

To the Editor of the Reflector ■ ., 

R. REFLECTOR, — There is no science in their pretensions 



M 



to which mankind are more apt to commit grievous mis- 
takes, than in the supposed very obvious one of physiognomy. I 
quarrel not with the principles of this science, as they are laid down 
by learned professors ; much less am I disposed, with some people, 
to deny its existence altogether as any inlet of knowledge that can 
be depended upon. I believe that there is, or may be, an art to 
" read the mind's construction in the face." But, then, in every 
species of reading, so much depends upon the eyes of the reader ; 
if they are blear, or apt to dazzle, or inattentive, or strained with 
too much attention, the optic power will infallibly bring home false 
reports of what it reads. How often do we say, upon a cursory 
glance at a stranger, what a fine open countenance he has, who, 
upon second inspection, proves to have the exact features of a 
knave. Nay, in much more intimate acquaintances, how a delusion 
of this kind shall continue for months, years, and then break up all 
at once. 

Ask the married man, who has been so but for a short space of time, 
if those blue eyes where, during so many years of anxious courtship, 
truth, sweetness, serenity, seemed to be written in characters which 
could not be misunderstood — ask him if the characters which they 
now convey be exactly the same .''—if for truth he does not read a dull 
virtue (the mimic of constancy) which changes not, only because it 
wants the judgment to make a preference ? — if for sweetness he does 
not read a stupid habit of looking pleased at every thing ; — if for 
serenity he does not read animal tranquillity, the dead pool of the 
heart, which no breeze of passion can stir into health .'' Alas ! what 
is this book of the countenance good for, which when we have read 
so long, and thought that we understood its contents, there comes 
a countless list of heart-breaking errata at the end ! 

But these are the pitiable mistakes to which love alone is subject. 
I have inadvertently wandered from my purpose, which was to ex- 
pose quite an opposite blunder, into which we are no less apt to fall, 
through hate. How ugly a person looks upon whose reputation some 
awkward aspersion hangs, and how suddenly his countenance clears 



MOEAL AND PEESONAL DEFORMITY 65 

up with his character. I remember being persuaded of a man whom 
I had conceived an ill opinion of, that he had a very bad set of teeth ; 
which, since I have had better opportunities of being acquainted 
with his face and facts, I find to have been the very reverse of the 
truth. That crooked old woman, I once isaid, speaking of an 
ancient gentlewoman, whose actions did not square altogether with 
my notions of the rule of right. The unanimous surprise of the com- 
pany before whom I uttered these words, soon convinced me that I 
had confounded mental with bodily obliquity, and that there was 
nothing tortuous about the old lady but her deeds. 

This humour of mankind to deny personal comeliness to those 
with whose moral attributes they are dissatisfied, is very strongly 
shewn in those advertisements, which stare us in the face from the 
walls of every street, and, with the tempting bait which they hang 
forth, stimulate at once cupidity and an abstract love of justice in 
the breast of every passing peruser; I mean, the advertisements 
ofiering rewards for the apprehension of absconded culprits, strayed 
apprentices, bankrupts who have conveyed away their effects, debtors 
that have run away from their bail. I observe, that in exact pro- 
portion to the indignity with which the prosecutor, who is commonly 
the framer of the advertisement, conceives he has been treated, the 
personal pretensions of the fugitive are denied, and his defects 
exaggerated. 

A fellow, whose misdeeds have been directed against the public 
in general, and in whose delinquency no individual shall feel himself 
particularly interested, generally meets with fair usage. A coiner 
or a smuggler shall get off tolerably well. His beauty, if he has any, 
is not much underrated, his deformities are not much magnified. A 
run-away apprentice, who excites perhaps the next least degree of 
spleen in his prosecutor, generally escapes with a pair of bandy legs ; 
if he has taken any thing with him in his flight, a hitch in his gait 
is generally superadded. A bankrupt, who has been guilty of with- 
drawing his effects, if his case be not very atrocious, commonly 
meets with mild usage. But a debtor who has left his bail in 
jeopardy, is sure to be described in characters of unmingled 
deformity. Here the personal feelings of the bail, which may be 
allowed to be somewhat poignant, are admitted to interfere ; and, 
as wrath and revenge commonly strike in the dark, th^ colours are 
laid on with a grossness which I am convinced must often defeat its 
own purpose. The fish that casts an inky cloud about him that his 
enemies may not find him, cannot more obscure himself by that 
device than the blackening representations of these angry advertisers 
must inevitably serve to cloak and screen the persons of those who 
have injured them from detection. I have before me at this moment 
one of these bills, which runs thus : — 
VOL. I. — 5 



66 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

"FIFTY POUNDS REWARD. 

" Run away from his bail, John Tomkins, formerly resident in 
Princes-street, Soho, but lately of Clerkenwell. Whoever shall 
apprehend, or cause to be apprehended and lodged in one of his 
Majesty's jails, the said John Tomkins, shall receive the above 
reward. He is a thickset, sturdy man, about five foot six inches 
high, halts in his left leg, with a stoop in his gait, with coarse red 
hair, nose short and cocked up, with little grey eyes, one of them 
bears the effect of a blow which he has lately received, with a pot 
belly, speaks with a thick and disagreeable voice, goes shabbily 
drest, had on when he went away a greasy shag great coat with 
rusty yellow buttons." 

Now, although it is not out of the compass of possibility that 
John Tomkins aforesaid may comprehend in his agreeable person 
all the above-mentioned aggregate of charms ; yet, from my ob- 
servation of the manner in which these advertisements are usually 
drawn up, though I have not the pleasure of knowing the gentle- 
man, yet would I lay a wager, that an advertisement to the following 
effect would have a much better chance of apprehending and laying 
by the heels this John Tomkins than the above description, although 
penned by one who, from the good services which he appears to 
have done for him, has not improbably been blessed with some 
years of previous intercourse with the said John. Taking, then, 
the above advertisement to be true, or nearly so, down to the 
words " left leg " inclusive (though I have some doubt if the 
blemish there implied amount to a positive lameness, or be per- 
ceivable by any but the nearest friends of John) I would proceed 
thus : — 

— " Leans a little forward in his walk, his hair thick and inclin- 
ing to auburn, his nose of the middle size, a little turned up at the 
end, lively hazel eyes (the contusion, as its effects are probably 
gone off by this time, I judge better omitted) inclines to be 
corpulent, his voice thick but pleasing, especially when he sings, 
had on a decent shag great coat with yellow buttons." 

Now, I would stake a considerable wager (though by no means a 
positive man) that some such mitigated description would lead the 
beagles of the law into a much surer track for finding this un- 
gracious varlet, than to set them upon a false scent after fictitious 
ugliness and fictitious shabbiness; though, to do those gentlemen 
justice, I have no doubt their experience has taught them in all 
such cases to abate a great deal of the deformity which they are 
instructed to expect ; and has discovered to them, that the Devil's 
agents upon this earth, like their master, are far less ugly in reality 
than they are painted. 

I am afraid, Mr. Reflector, that I shall be thought to have gone 



MORAL AND PERSONAL DEFORMITY 67 

wide of my subject, which was to detect the practical errors of 
physiognomy, properly so called ; whereas I have introduced physical 
defects, such as lameness, the eiFects of accidents upon a man's 
person, his wearing apparel, &c. as circumstances on which the eye 
of dislike, looking ascance, may report erroneous conclusions to the 
understanding. But if we are liable, through a kind, or an unkind 
passion, to mistake so grossly concerning things so exterior and 
palpable, how much more are we likely to err respecting those nicer 
and less perceptible hints of character in a face, whose detection 
constitutes the triumph of the physiognomist. 

To revert to those bestowers of unmerited deformity, the framers 
of advertisements for the apprehension of delinquents, a sincere 
desire of promoting the ends of public justice induces me to 
address a word to them on the best means of attaining those ends. 
I will endeavour to lay down a few practical, or rather negative, 
rules for their use, for my ambition extends no further than to 
arm them with cautions against the self-defeating of their own 
purposes : — 

1. Imprimis, then, Mr. Advertiser ! If the culprit whom you 
are willing to recover be one to whom in times past you have 
shewn kindness, and been disposed to think kindly of him yourself, 
but he has deceived your trust, and has run away, and left you 
with a load of debt to answer for him, — sit down calmly, and 
endeavour to behold him through the spectacles of memory rather 
than of present conceit. Image to yourself, before you _pen a 
tittle of his description, the same plausible, good-looking man who 
took you in ; and try to put away from your mind every intrusion 
of that deceitful spectre which perpetually obtrudes itself in the 
room of your former friend's known visage. It will do you more 
credit to have been deceived by such a one ; and depend upon it, 
the traitor will convey to the eyes of the world in general much 
more of that first idea which you formed (perhaps in part erroneous) 
of his physiognomy, than of that frightful substitute which you 
have suffered to creep in upon your mind and usurp upon it ; a 
creature which has no archetype except in your own brain. 

2. If you be a master that have to advertise a runaway apprentice, 
though the young dog's faults are known only to you, and no doubt 
his conduct has been aggravating enough, do not presently set him 
down as having crooked ancles. He may have a good pair of legs, 
and run away notwithstanding. Indeed, the latter does rather 
seem to imply the former. 

3. If the unhappy person against whom your laudable vengeance 
is directed be a thief, think that a thief may have a good nose, good 
eyes, good ears. It is indispensable to his profession that he be 
possessed of sagacity, foresight, vigilance ; it is more than probable. 



68 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

then, that he is endued with the bodily types or instruments of 
these qualities to some tolerable degree of perfectness. 

4. If petty larceny be his offence, I exhort you, do not confound 
meanness of crime with diminutiveness of stature. These thmgs 
have no connection. I have known a tall man stoop to the basest 
action, a short man aspire to the height of crime, a fair man be 
guilty of the foulest actions, &c. 

5. Perhaps the offender has been guilty of some atrocious and 
aggravated murder. Here is the most difficult case of all. It is 
above all requisite, that such a daring violator of the peace and 
safety of society should meet with his reward, a violent and igno- 
minious death. But how shall we get at him? Who is there 
among us, that has known him before he committed the offence, 
that shall take upon him to say he can sit down coolly and pen a 
dispassionate description of a murderer .? The tales of our nursery, 
— the reading of our youth, — the ill-looking man that was hired by 
the Uncle to dispatch the Children in the Wood, — the grim ruffians 
who smothered the babes in the Tower, — the black and beetle- 
browed assassin of Mrs. RatclifFe, — the shag-haired villain of Mr. 
Monk Lewis, — the Tarquin tread, and mill-stone dropping eyes, of 
Murder in Shakspeare, — the exaggerations of picture and of poetry, 
— what we have read and what we have dreamed of, — rise up and 
crowd in upon us such eye-scaring portraits of the man of blood, 
that our pen is absolutely forestalled ; we commence poets when we 
should play the part of strictest historians, and the very blackness 
of horror which the deed calls up, serves as a cloud to screen the 
doer. The fiction is blameless, it is accordant with those wise pre- 
judices with which nature has guarded our innocence, as with 
impassable barriers, against the commission of such appalling 
crimes ; but meantime, the criminal escapes ; or if, — owing to that 
wise abatement in their expectation of deformity, which, as I hinted 
at before, the officers of pursuit never fail to make, and no doubt 
in cases of this sort they make a more than ordinary allowance, — if, 
owing to this or any accident, the offender is caught and brought 
to his trial, who that has been led out of curiosity to witness such 
a scene, has not with astonishment reflected on the difference 
between a real committer of a murder, and the idea of one which 
he has been collecting and heightening all his life out of books, 
dreams, &c. The fellow, perhaps, is a sleek, smug-looking man, 
with light hair and eye-brows, — the latter by no means jutting out 
or like a crag, — and with none of those marks which our fancy had 
pre-bestowed upon him. 

I find I am getting unawares too serious ; the best way on such 
occasions is, to leave off, which I shall do by generally recommend- 
ing to all prosecuting advertisers not to confound crimes with 



AMBIGUITIES OF PROPEK NAMES 69 

ugliness; or rather, to distinguish between that physiognomical 
deformity, which I am willing to grant always accompanies crime, 
and mere physical ugliness, — which signifies nothing, is the 
exponent of nothing, and may exist in a good or bad person 
indifferently. 

Crito. 



ON THE AMBIGUITIES ARISING FROM PROPER 

NAMES 

(1811) 

MR. REFLECTOR,— How oddly it happens that the same 
sound shall suggest to the minds of two persons hearing it 
ideas the most opposite ! I was conversing a few years since with a 
young friend upon the subject of poetry, and particularly that species 
of it which is known by the name of the Epithalamium. I ventured 
to assert, that the most perfect specimen of it in our language was 
the Epithalamium of Spenser upon his own man'iage. 

My young gentleman, who has a smattering of taste, and would 
not willingly be thought ignorant of any thing remotely connected 
with the belles lettres, expressed a degree of surprise, mixed with 
mortification, that he should never have heard of this poem, 
Spenser being an author with whose writings he thought himself 
peculiarly conversant. 

I offered to show him the poem in the fine folio copy of the 
poet's works, which I have at home. He seemed pleased with the 
offer, though the mention of the folio seemed again to puzzle him. 
But presently after, assuming a grave look, he compassionately 
muttered to himself "poor Spencer." 

There wa^ something in the tone with which he spoke these 
words that struck me not a little. It was more like the accent 
with which a man bemoans some recent calamity that has happened 
to a friend, than that tone of sober grief with which we lament the 
sorrows of a person, however excellent, and however grievous his 
afflictions may have been, who has been dead more than two 
centuries. I had the curiosity to enquire into the reasons of so 
uncommon an ejaculation. My young gentleman, with a more 
solemn tone of pathos than before, repeated " poor Spencer," and 
added, " he has lost his wife." 



70 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

My astonishment at this assertion rose to such a height, that I 
began to think the brain of my young friend must be cracked, or 
some unaccountable reverie had gotten possession of it. But upon 
further explanation it appeared that the word " Spenser,"— which 
to you or me. Reader, in a conversation upon poetry too, would 
naturally have called up the idea of an old poet in a rulF, one 
Edmund Spenser, that flourished in the days of Queen Elizabeth, 
and wrote a poem called the Fairy Queen, with the Shepherd's 
Calender, and many more verses besides, — did in the mind of my 
young friend excite a very dift'erent and quite modem idea, namely, 
that of the Honourable William Spencer, one of the living orna- 
ments, if I am not misinformed, of this present poetical era, a.d. 

1811- X. y. Z. 



ON THE GENIUS AND CHARACTER OF HOGARTH; 
WITH SOME REMARKS ON A PASSAGE IN THE 
WRITINGS OF THE LATE MR. BARRY. 

(1811. Text OF 1818) 

ONE of the earliest and noblest enjoyments I had when a boy 
was in the contemplation of those capital prints by Hogarth, 
the Harlot's and Rake's Progresses, which, along with some others, 
hung upon the walls of a great hall in an old-fashioned house in 

shire, and seemed the solitary tenants (with myself) of that 

antiquated and life-deserted apartment. 

Recollection of the manner in which those prints used to affect me, 
has often made me wonder, when I have heard Hogarth described 
as a mere comic painter, as one whose chief ambition was to raise 
a laugh. To deny that there are throughout the prints which I 
have mentioned circumstances introduced of a laughable tendency, 
would be to run counter to the common notions of mankind ; but to 
suppose that in their ruling character they appeal chiefly to the 
risible faculty, and not first and foremost to the very heart of man, 
its best and most serious feelings, would be to mistake no less 
grossly their aim and purpose. A set of severer Satires (for they 
are not so much Comedies, which they have been likened to, as they 
are strong and masculine Satires) less mingled with any thing of 
mere fun, were never written upon paper, or graven upon copper. 
They resemble Juvenal, or the satiric touches in Timon of Athens. 



GENIUS AND CHARACTEE OF HOGAETH 71 

I was pleased with the reply of a gentleman, who being asked 
which book he esteemed most in his library, answered, — "Shak- 
speare : " being asked which he esteemed next best, replied, — 
" Hogarth." His graphic representations are indeed books : they 
have the teeming, fruitful, suggestive meaning of words. Other 
pictures we look at, — his prints we read. 

In pursuance of this parallel, I have sometimes entertained myself 
with comparing the Timon of Athens of Shakspeare (which I 
have just mentioned) and Hogarth's Rake's Progress together. 
The story, the moral, in both is nearly the same. The wild course 
of riot and extravagance, ending in the one with driving the 
Prodigal from the society of men into the solitude of the deserts, 
and in the other with conducting the Rake through his several 
stages of dissipation into the still more complete desolations of the 
mad-house, in the play and in the picture are described with almost 
equal force and nature. The levee of the Rake, which forms the 
subject of the second plate in the series, is almost a transcript of 
Timon's levee in the opening scene of that play. We find a 
dedicating poet, and other similar characters, in both. 

The concluding scene in the Rake's Progress is perhaps superior 
to the last scenes of Timon. K we seek for something of kindred 
excellence in poetry, it must be in the scenes of Lear's beginning 
madness, where the King and the Fool and the Tom-o'-Bedlam 
conspire to produce such a medley of mirth checked by misery, 
and misery rebuked by mirth ; where the society of those " strange 
bed-fellows " which misfortunes have brought Lear acquainted 
with, so finely sets forth the destitute state of the monarch, 
while the lunatic bans of the one, and the disjointed sayings and 
wild but pregnant allusions of the other, so wonderfully sympathize 
with that confusion, which they seem to assist in the production 
of, in the senses of that " child-changed father." 

In the scene in Bedlam, which terminates the Rake's Progress, 
we find the same assortment of the ludicrous with the terrible. 
Here is desperate madness, the overturning of originally strong 
thinking faculties, at which we shudder, as we contemplate the 
duration and pressure of affliction which it must have asked to 
destroy such a building ; — and here is the gradual hurtless lapse 
into idiocy, of faculties, which at their best of times never having 
been strong, we look upon the consummation of their decay with 
no more of pity than is consistent with a smile. The mad taylor, 
the poor driveller that has gone out of his wits (and truly he 
appears to have had no great journey to go to get past their 
confines) for the love of Charming Betty Careless, — these half- 
laughable, scarce-pitiable objects take off from the horror which 
the principal figure would of itself raise, at the same time that 



72 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

they assist the feehng of the scene by contributing to the general 
notion of its subject : — 

Madness, thou chaos of the brain, 
What art, that pleasure giv'st, and pain ? 
Tyranny of Fancy's reign ! 
Mechanic Fancy, that can build 
Vast labyrinths and mazes wild, 
, With rule disjointed, shapeless measure, 
Fill'd with horror, fiU'd with pleasure ! 
Shapes of horror, that would even 
Cast doubts of mercy upon heaven. 
Shapes of pleasure, that, but seen. 
Would split the shaking sides of spleen. ^ 

Is it carrying the spirit of comparison to excess to remark, that 
in the poor kneeling weeping female, who accompanies her seducer 
in his sad decay, there is something analogous to Kent, or Caius, 
as he delights rather to be called, in Lear, — the noblest pattern 
of virtue which even Shakspeare has conceived, — who follows his 
royal master in banishment, that had pronounced Ms banishment, 
and forgetful at once of his wrongs and dignities, taking on himself 
the disguise of a menial, retains his fidelity to the figure, his loyalty 
to the carcass, the shadow, the shell and empty husk of Lear i 

In the perusal of a book, or of a picture, much of the impression 
which we receive depends upon the habit of mind which we bring 
with us to such perusal. The same circumstance may make one 
person laugh, which shall render another very serious ; or in the same 
person the first impression may be corrected by after-thought. The 
misemployed incongruous characters at the Harlofs Funeral, on 
a superficial inspection, provoke to laughter ; but when we have sacri- 
ficed the first emotion to levity, a very dififerentframe of mind succeeds, 
or the painter has lost half his purpose. I never look at that won- 
derful assemblage of depraved beings, who, without a grain of 
reverence or pity in their perverted minds, are performing the 
sacred exteriors of duty to the relics of their departed partner in 
folly, but I am as much moved to sympathy from the very want of 
it in them, as I should be by the finest representation of a virtuous 
death-bed surrounded by real mourners, pious children, weeping 
friends, — perhaps more by the very contrast. What reflexions does 
it not awake, of the dreadful heartless state in which the creature 
(a female too) must have lived, who in death wants the accompani- 
ment of one genuine tear. That wretch who is removing the lid of 
the coffin to gaze upon the corpse with a face which indicates a 
perfect negation of all goodness or womanhood — the hypocrite 
parson and his demure partner — all the fiendish group — to a 
thoughtful mind present a moral emblem more affecting than if the 

^ Lines inscribed under the plate. 



GENIUS AND CHAEACTER OF HOGAETH 73 

poor friendless carcass had been depicted as thrown out to the 
woods, where wolves had assisted at its obsequies, itself furnishing 
forth its own funeral banquet. 

It is easy to laugh at such incongruities as are met together in 
this picture, — incongruous objects being of the very essence of 
laughter, — but surely the laugh is far different in its kind from 
that thoughtless species to which we are moved by mere farce and 
grotesque. We laugh when Ferdinand Count Fathom, at the first 
sight of the white cliffs of Britain, feels his heart yearn with filial 
fondness towards the land of his progenitors, which he is coming 
to fleece and plunder, — we smile at the exquisite irony of the 
passage, — but if we are not led on by such passages to some more 
salutary feeling than laughter, we are very negligent perusers of 
them in book or picture. 

It is the fashion with those who cry up the great Historical School 
in this country, at the head of which Sir Joshua Reynolds is placed, 
to exclude Hogarth from that school, as an artist of an inferior and 
vulgar class. Those persons seem to me to confound the painting 
of subjects in common or vulgar life with the being a vulgar artist. 
The quantity of thought which Hogarth crowds into every picture, 
would alone unvulgarize every subject which he might choose. 
Let us take the lowest of his subjects, the print called Gin Lane. 
Here is plenty of poverty and low stuff to disgust upon a superficial 
view ; and accordingly, a cold spectator feels himself immediately 
disgusted and repelled. I have seen many turn away from it, not 
being able to bear it. The same persons would perhaps have looked 
with great complacency upon Poussin's celebrated picture of the 
Plague of Athens. ^ Disease and Death and bewildering Terror 
in Athenian garments are endurable, and come, as the delicate 
critics express it, within the " limits of pleasurable sensation." But 
the scenes of their own St. Giles's, delineated by their own country- 
man, are too shocking to think of. Yet if we could abstract our 
minds from the fascinating colours of the picture, and forget the 
coarse execution (in some respects) of the print, intended as it was 
to be a cheap plate, accessible to the poorer sort of people, for 
whose instruction it was done, I think we could have no hesitation in 
conferring the palm of superior genius upon Hogarth, comparing 
this work of his with Poussin's picture. There is more of imagina- 
tion in it — ^that power which draws all things to one, — which makes 
things animate and inanimate, beings with their attributes, sub- 
jects and their accessories, take one colour, and serve to one effect. 
Every thing in the print, to use a vulgar expression, tells. Every 
part is full of " strange images of death." It is perfectly amazing 

^ At the late Mr. Hope's, in Cavendish-square. 



74 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

and astounding to look at. Not only the two prominent figures, 
the woman and the half-dead man, which are as terrible as any thing 
which Michael Angelo ever drew, but every thing else in the print 
contributes to bewilder and stupefy, — the very houses, as I heard a 
friend of mine express it, tumbling all about in various directions, 
seem drunk — seem absolutely reeling from the effect of that dia- 
bolical spirit of phrei;?y which goes forth over the whole composi- 
tion. — To shew the poetical and almost prophetical conception in 
the artist, one little circumstance may serve. Not content with the 
dying and dead figures, which he has strewed in profusion over 
the proper scene of the action, he shews you what (of a kindred 
nature) is passing beyond it. Close by the shell, in which, by 
direction of the parish beadle, a man is depositing his wife, is an 
old wall, which, partaking of the universal decay around it, is 
tumbling to pieces. Through a gap in this wall are seen three 
figures, which appear to make a part in some funeral procession 
which is passing by on the other side of the wall, out of the sphere 
of the composition. This extending of the interest beyond the 
bounds of the subject could only have been conceived by a great 
genius. Shakspeare, in his description of the painting of the 
Trojan War, in his Tarquin and Lucrece, has introduced a 
similar device, where the painter made a part stand for the 
whole : — 

For much imaginary work was there, 
Conceit deceitful, so compact, so kind. 
That for Achilles' image stood his spear, 
Grip'd in an armed hand ; himself behind 
Was left unseen, save to the eye of mind : 
A hand, a foot, a face, a leg, a head, 
Stood for the whole to be imagined. 

This he well calls iTnaginary work, where the spectator must 
meet the artist in his conceptions half way ; and it is peculiar to 
the confidence of high genius alone to trust so much to spectators 
or readers. Lesser artists shew every thing distinct and full, as they 
require an object to be made out to themselves before they can 
comprehend it. 

When I think of the power displayed in this (I will not hesitate 
to say) subUme print, it seems to me the extreme narrowness of 
system alone, and of that rage for classification, by which, in 
matters of taste at least, we are perpetually perplexing instead of 
arranging our ideas, that would make us concede to the work of 
Poussin above-mentioned, and deny to this of Hogarth, the name 
of a grand serious composition. 

We are for ever deceiving ourselves with names and theories. 
We call one man a great historical painter, because he has taken for 
his subjects kings or great men, or transactions over which time has 



GENIUS AND CHARACTEE OF HOGARTH 75 

thrown a grandeur. We term another the painter of common life, 
and set him down in our minds for an artist of an inferior class, 
without reflecting whether the quantity of thought shewn by the 
latter may not much more than level the distinction which their 
mere choice of subjects may seem to place between them ; or 
whether, in fact, from that very common life a great artist may 
not extract as deep an interest as another man from that which we 
are pleased to call history. 

I entertain the highest respect for the talents and virtues of 
Rejnaolds, but I do not like that his reputation should overshadow 
and stifle the merits of such a man as Hogarth, nor that to mere 
names and classifications we should be content to sacrifice one of 
the greatest ornaments of England. 

I would ask the most enthusiastic admirer of Reynolds, whether 
in the countenances of his Staring and Grinning Despair, which 
he has given us for the faces of Ugolino and dying Beaufort, there 
be any thing comparable to the expression which Hogarth has put 
into the face of his broken-down rake in the last plate but one 
of the Rake's Progress,^ where a letter from the manager is 
brought to him to say that his play " will not do .'' " Here all is 
easy, natural, undistorted, but withal what a mass of woe is here 
accumulated ! — the long history of a mis-spent life is compressed 
into the countenance as plainly as the series of plates before had 
told it ; here is no attempt at Gorgonian looks which are to freeze 
the beholder, no grinning at the antique bedposts, no face-making, 
or consciousness of the presence of spectators in or out of the picture, 
but grief kept to a man's self, a face retiring from notice with the 
shame which great anguish sometimes brings with it, — a final leave 
taken of hope, — the coming on of vacancy and stupefaction, — a 
beginning alienation of mind looking like tranquillity. Here is 
matter for the mind of the beholder to feed on for the hour 
together, — matter to feed and fertilize the mind. It is too real to 
admit one thought about the power of the artist who did it. — 
When we compare the expression in subjects which so fairly admit 
of comparison, and find the superiority so clearly to remain with 
Hogarth, shall the mere contemptible difference of the scene of it 
being laid in the one case in our Fleet or King's Bench Prison, and 
in the other in the State Prison of Pisa, or the bed-room of a car- 
dinal, — or that the subject of the one has never been authenticated, 
and the other is matter of history, — so weigh down the real points 
of the comparison, as to induce us to rank the artist who has chosen 

1 The first perhaps in all Hogarth for serious expression. That which comes 
next to it, I think, is the jaded morning countenance of the debauchee in the 
second plate of the Marriage Alamode, which lectures on the vanity of pleasure 
as audibly as any thing in Ecclesiastes. 



76 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

the one scene or subject (though confessedly inferior in that which 
constitutes the soul of his art) in a class from which we exclude the 
better genius (who has happened to make choice of the other) with 
something hke disgrace ? ^ 

The Boys under Demoniacal Possession of Raphael and 
Dominichino, by what law of classification are we bound to assign 
them to belong to the great style in painting, and to degrade into 
an inferior class the Rake of Hogarth when he is the Madman in 
the Bedlam scene? I am sure he is far more impressive than 
either. It is a face which no one that has seen can easily forget. 
There is the stretch of human suffering to the utmost endurance, 
severe bodily pain brought on by strong mental agony, the fright- 
ful obstinate laugh of madness,— yet all so unforced and natural, 
that those who never were witness to madness in real life, think 
they see nothing but what is familiar to them in this face. Here 
are no tricks of distortion, nothing but the natural face of agony. 
This is high tragic painting, and we might as well deny to Shak- 
speare the honours of a great tragedian, because he has interwoven 
scenes of mirth with the serious business of his plays, as refuse to 
Hogarth the same praise for the two concluding scenes of the 
Rake's Progress, because of the Comic Lunatics^ which he has 
thrown into the one, or the Alchymist that he has introduced 
in the other, who is paddling in the coals of his furnace, keeping 
alive the flames of vain hope within the very walls of the prison 

' Sir Joshua Reynolds, somewhere in his lectures, speaks of the presumption of 
Hogarth in attempting the grand style in painting, by which he means his choice 
of certain Scripture subjects. Hogarth's excursions into Holy Land were not very 
numerous, but what he has left us in this kind have at least this merit, that they 
have expression of some sort or other in them,. — the Child Moses before Pharaoh's 
Daughter, for instance : which is more than can be said of Sir Joshua Reynolds's 
Repose in Egypt, painted for Macklin's Bible, where for a Madona he has sub- 
stituted a sleepy, insensible, unmotherly girl, one so little worthy to have been 
selected as the Mother of the Saviour, that she seems to have neither heart nor 
feeling to entitle her to become a mother at all. But indeed the race of Virgin Mary 
painters seems to have been cut up, root and branch, at the Reformation. Our artists 
are too good Protestants to give life to that admirable commixture of maternal tender- 
ness with reverential awe and wonder approaching to worship, vnth which the 
Virgin Mothers of L. da Vinci and Raphael (themselves by their divine countenances 
inviting men to worship) contemplate the union of the two natures in the person of 
their Heaven-born Infant. 

^ There are of madmen, as there are of tame, 
All humour'd not alike. We have here some 
So apish and fantastic, play with a feather ; 
And though 'twould grieve a soul to see God's image 
So blemish'd and defac'd, yet do they act 
Such antick and such pretty lunacies. 
That, spite of sorrow, they will make you smile. 
Others again we have, like angry lions. 
Fierce as wild bulls, untameable as flies. 

" Honest Whore." 



GENIUS AND CHAEACTER OF HOGAETH 77 

to which the vanity has conducted him, which have taught the 
darker lesson of extinguished hope to the desponding figure who 
is the principal person of the scene. 

It is the force of these kindly admixtures, which assimilates the 
scenes of Hogarth and of Shakspeare to the drama of real life, 
where no such thing as pure tragedy is to be found ; but merriment 
and infelicity, ponderous crime and feather-light vanity, like twi- 
formed births, disagreeing complexions of one intertexture, per- 
petually unite to shew forth motley spectacles to the world. Then 
it is that the poet or painter shews his art, when in the selection of 
these comic adjuncts he chooses such circumstances as shall relieve, 
contrast with, or fall into, without forming a violent opposition 
to, his principal object. Who sees not that the Grave-digger in 
Hamlet, the Fool in Lear, have a kind of correspondency to, and 
fall in with, the subjects which they seem to interrupt, while the 
comic stuff in Venice Preserved, and the doggrel nonsense of the 
Cook and his poisoning associates in the Rollo of Beaumont and 
Fletcher, are pure, irrelevant, impertinent discords, — as bad as the 
quarrelling dog and cat under the table of the Lord and the 
Disciples at Emmaus of Titian ? 

Not to tire the reader with perpetual reference to prints which 
he may not be fortunate enough to possess, it may be sufficient to 
remark, that the same tragic cast of expression and incident, blended 
in some instances with a greater alloy of comedy, characterizes his 
other great work, the Marriage Alamode, as well as those less 
elaborate exertions of his genius, the prints called Industry and 
Idleness, the Distrest Poet, &c. forming, with the Harlot's and 
Rake's Progresses, the most considerable if not the largest class 
of his productions, — enough surely to rescue Hogarth from the im- 
putation of being a mere buffoon, or one whose general aim was only 
to shake the sides. 

There remains a very numerous class of his performances, the 
object of which must be confessed to be principally comic. But in 
all of them will be found something to distinguish them from the 
droll productions of Bunbury and others. They have this difference, 
that we do not merely laugh at, we are led into long trains of reflec- 
tion by them. In this respect they resemble the characters of 
Chaucer's Pilgrims, which have strokes of humour in them enough 
to designate them for the most part as comic, but our strongest 
feeling still is wonder at the comprehensiveness of genius which 
could crowd, as poet and painter have done, into one small canvas 
so many diverse yet co-operating materials. 

The faces of Hogarth have not a mere momentary interest, as in 
caricatiu-es, or those grotesque physiognomies which we sometimes 
catch a glance of in the street, and, struck with their whimsicality. 



78 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

wish for a pencil and the power to sketch them down ; and forget 
them again as rapidly, — but they are permanent abiding ideas. 
Not the sports of nature, but her necessary eternal classes. We 
feel that we cannot part with any of them, lest a link should be 
broken. 

It is worthy of observation, that he has seldom drawn a mean or 
insignificant countenance.^ Hogarth's mind was eminently reflec- 
tive ; and, as it has been well observed of Shakspeare, that he has 
transfused his own poetical character into the persons of his drama 
(they are all more. or less^oete) Hogarth has impressed a thinking 
character upon the persons of his canvas. This remark must not 
be taken universally. The exquisite idiotism of the little gentle- 
man in the bag and sword beating his drum in the print of the 
Enraged Musician, would of itself rise up against so sweeping 
an assertion. But I think it will be found to be true of the 
generality of his countenances. The knife-grinder and Jew flute- 
player in the plate just mentioned may serve as instances instead 
of a thousand. They have intense thinking faces, though the 
purpose to which they are subservient by no means required it ; 
but indeed it seems as if it was painful to Hogarth to contemplate 
mere vacancy or insignificance. 

This reflection of the artist's own intellect from the faces of his 
characters, is one reason why the works of Hogarth, so much more 
than those of any other artist are objects of meditation. Our 
intellectual natures love the mirror which gives them back their 
own likenesses. The mental eye will not bend long with delight 
upon vacancy. 

Another line of eternal separation between Hogarth and the 
common painters of droll or burlesque subjects, with whom he is 
often confounded, is the sense of beauty, which in the most un- 
promising subjects seems never wholly to have deserted him. 
" Hogarth himself," says Mr. Coleridge,^ from whom I have bor- 
rowed this observation, speaking of a scene which took place at 
Ratzeburg, " never drew a more ludicrous distortion, both of attitude 
and physiognomy, than this effect occasioned : nor was there want- 
ing beside it one of those beautiful female faces which the same 
Hogarth, in whom the satirist never extinguished that love of 
beauty which belonged to him as a poet, so often and so gladly 
introduces as the central figui-e in a crowd of humorous deformities, 

1 If there are any of that description, they are in his Strolling Players, a print 
which has been cried up by Lord Orford as the richest of his productions, and it 
may be, for what I know, in the mere lumber, the properties, and dead furniture of 
the scene, but in living character and expression it is (for Hogarth) lamentably poor 
and wanting ; it is perhaps the only one of his performances at which we have a 
right to feel disgusted. 

2 The Friend, No. XVI. 



GENIUS AND CHARACTER OF HOGARTH 79 

which figure (such is the power of true genius) neither acts nor is 
meant to act as a contrast ; but diffuses through all, and over each 
of the group, a spirit of reconciliation and human kindness ; and 
even when the attention is no longer consciously directed to the 
cause of this feeling, still blends its tenderness with our laughter : 
and thus prevents the instructive merriment at the whims of 
nature, or the foibles or humours of our fellow-men, from 
degenerating into the heart-poison of oonteTnpt or hatred." To 
the beautiful females in Hogarth, which Mr. C. has pointed out, 
might be added, the frequent introduction of children (which 
Hogarth seems to have taken a particular delight in) into his pieces. 
They have a singular effect in giving tranquillity and a portion of 
their own innocence to the subject. The baby riding in its mother's 
lap in the March to Finchley, (its careless innocent face placed 
directly behind the intriguing time-furrowed countenance of the 
treason-plotting French priest) perfectly sobers the whole of that 
tumultuous scene. The boy mourner winding up his top with so 
much unpretended insensibility in the plate of the Harlot's Funeral, 
(the only thing in that assembly that is not a hypocrite) quiets and 
soothes the mind that has been disturbed at the sight of so much 
depraved man and woman kind. 

I had written thus far, when I met with a passage in the writings 
of the late Mr. Barry, which, as it falls in with the vulgar notion 
respecting Hogarth, which this Essay has been employed in combat- 
ing, I shall take the liberty to transcribe, with such remarks as 
may suggest themselves to me in the transcription ; referring the 
reader for a full answer to that which has gone before. 

"Notwithstanding Hogarth's merit does undoubtedly entitle 
him to an honourable place amongst the artists, and that his little 
compositions considered as so many dramatic representations, 
abounding with humour, character, and extensive observations on 
the various incidents of low, faulty, and vicious life, are very 
ingeniously brought together, and frequently tell their own story 
with more facility than is often found in many of the elevated 
and more noble inventions of Raffael, and other great men ; 
yet it must be honestly confessed, that in what is called know- 
ledge of the figure, foreigners have justly observed, that Hogarth 
is often so raw, and uninformed, as hardly to deserve the name of an 
artist. But this capital defect is not often perceivable, as examples 
of the naked and of elevated nature but rarely occur in his subjects, 
which are for the most part filled with characters, that in their 
nature tend to deformity ; besides, his figures are small, and the 
junctures, and other difficulties of drawing that might occur in their 
limbs, are artfully concealed with their cloaths, rags, &c. But what 
would atone for all his defects, even if they were twice told, is his 



80 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

admirable fund of invention, ever inexhaustible in its resources ; and 
his satire, which is alvi^ays sharp and pertinent, and often highly 
moral, was (except in a few instances, where he weakly and meanly 
suffered his integrity to give way to his envy) seldom or never em- 
ployed in a dishonest or unmanly way. 

Hogarth has been often imitated in his satirical vein, sometimes in 
his humorous ; but very few have attempted to rival him in his moral 
walk. The line of art pursued by my very ingenious predecessor 
and brother academician, Mr. Penny, is quite distinct from that of 
Hogarth, and is of a much more delicate and superior relish ; he at- 
tempts the heart, and reaches it, whilst Hogarth's general aim is only 
to shake the sides : in other respects no comparison can be thought 
of, as Mr. Penny has all that knowledge of the figure and academical 
skill which the other wanted. As to Mr. Bunbury, who had so hap- 
pily succeeded in the vein of humour and caricatura, he has for some 
time past altogether relinquished it, for the more amiable pursuit 
of beautiful nature : this indeed is not to be wondered at, when 
we recollect that he has, in Mrs. Bunbury, so admirable an exemplar 
of the most finished grace and beauty, continually at his elbow. 
But (to say all that occurs to me on this subject) perhaps it may 
be reasonably doubted, whether the being much conversant with 
Hogarth's method of exposing meanness, deformity, and vice, in 
many of his works, is not rather a dangerous, or, at least, a worthless 
pursuit ; which, if it does not find a false relish, and a love of, and 
search after satire and buffoonery in the spectator, is at least not 
unlikely to give him one. Life is short, and the little leisure of it 
is much better laid out upon that species of art, which is employed 
upon the amiable and the admirable, as it is more likely to be 
attended with better and nobler consequences to ourselves. These 
two pursuits in art, may be compared with two sets of people with 
whom we might associate ; if we give ourselves up to the Footes, 
the Kenricks, &c. we shall be continually busied, and paddling in 
whatever is ridiculous, faulty, and vicious in life ; whereas there 
are those to be found, with whom we should be in the constant 
pursuit and study of all that gives a value and a dignity to human 
nature." [Account of a Series of Pictures in the Great Room of 
the Society of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, at the Adelphi, 
by James Barry, R.A., Professor of Painting to the Royal Academy ; 
reprinted in the last quarto edition of his works.] 

" it must be honestly confessed, that in what is called 

knowledge of the figure, foreigners have justly observed," &c. 

It is a secret well known to the professors of the art and mystery 
of criticism, to insist upon what they do not find in a man's works, 
and to pass over in silence what they do. That Hogarth did not 
draw the naked figure so well as Michael Angelo might be allowed. 



GENIUS AND CHARACTER OF HOGARTH 81 

especially as " examples of the naked," as Mr. Barry acknowledges, 
"rarely (he might almost have said never) occur in his subjects ; " 
and that his figures under their draperies do not discover all the 
fine graces of an Antinous or an Apollo, may be conceded likewise ; 
perhaps it was more suitable to his purpose to represent the average 
forms of mankind in the mediocrity (as Mr. Burke expresses it) of 
the age in which he lived : but that his figures in general, and in his 
best subjects, are so glaringly incorrect as is here insinuated, I dare 
trust my own eye so far as positively to deny the fact. And there 
is one part of the figure in which Hogarth is allowed to have 
excelled, which these foreigners seem to have overlooked, or perhaps 
calculating from its proportion to the whole (a seventh or an 
eighth, I forget which) deemed it of trifling importance ; I mean 
the human face ; a small part, reckoning by geographical inches, in 
the map of man's body, but here it is that the painter of expression 
must condense the wonders of his skill, even at the expense of 
neglecting the " jonctures and other difficulties of drawing in the 
limbs," which it must be a cold eye that in the interest so strongly 
demanded by Hogarth's countenances has leisure to survey and 
censure. 

" The line of art pursued by my very ingenious predecessor and 
brother academician, Mr. Penny." 

The first impression caused in me by reading this passage, was an 
eager desire to know who this Mr. Penny was. This great surpasser 
of Hogarth in the " delicacy of his relish," and the " line which he 
pursued," where is he, what are his works, what has he to shew .'' 
In vain I tried to recollect, till by happily putting the question to 
a friend who is more conversant in the works of the illustrious 
obscure than myself, I learnt that he was the painter of a Death 
of Wolfe which missed the prize the year that the celebrated 
picture of West on the same subject obtained it ; that he also 
made a picture of the Marquis of Oranby relieving a Sick 
Soldier; moreover, that he was the inventor of two pictures of 
Suspended and Restored Animation, which I now remember to 
have seen in the Exhibition some years since, and the prints from 
which are still extant in good men's houses. This then I suppose 
is the line of subjects in which Mr. Penny was so much superior to 
Hogarth. I confess I am not of that opinion. The relieving of 
poverty by the purse, and the restoring a young man to his parents 
by using the methods prescribed by the Humane Society, are 
doubtless very amiable subjects, pretty things to teach the first 
rudiments of humanity ; they amount to about as much instruction 
as the stories of good boys that give away their custards to poor 
beggar-boys in children's books. But, good God ! is this milk for 
b<wea to be set up in opposition to Hogarth's moral scenes, his 
VOL. I. — 6 



82 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

strong 'meat for men ? As well might we prefer the fulsome 
verses upon their own goodness, to which the gentlemen of the 
Literary Fund annually sit still with such shameless patience to 
listen, to the satires of Juvenal and Persius ; because the former are 
full of tender images of Worth relieved by Charity, and Charity 
stretching out her hand to rescue sinking Genius, and the theme 
of the latter is men's crimes and follies with their black consequences 
— forgetful meanwhile of those strains of moral pathos, those 
sublime heart-touches, which these poets (in them chiefly shewing 
themselves poets) are perpetually darting across the otherwise 
appalling gloom of their subject — consolatory remembrancers, when 
their pictures of guilty mankind have made us even to despair for 
our species, that there is such a thing as virtue and moral dignity 
in the world, that her unquenchable spark is not utterly out — 
refreshing admonitions, to which we turn for shelter from the too 
great heat and asperity of the general satire. 

And is there nothing analogous to this in Hogarth ? nothing which 
"attempts and reaches the heart?" — no aim beyond that of " shaking 
the sides ? " — If the kneeling ministering female in the last scene of 
the Rake''s Progress, the Bedlam scene, of which I have spoken 
before, and have dared almost to parallel it with the most absolute 
idea of Virtue which Shakspeare has left us, be not enough to dis- 
prove the assertion ; if the sad endings of the Harlot and the Rake, 
the passionate heart-bleeding entreaties for forgiveness which the 
adulterous wife is pouring forth to her assassinated and dying lord in 
the last scene but one of the Marriage Alamode, — if these be not 
things to touch the heart, and dispose the mind to a meditative 
tenderness : is there nothing sweetly conciliatory in the mild, patient 
face and gesture with which the wife seems to allay and ventilate the 
feverish irritated feelings of her poor poverty-distracted mate (the 
true copy of the genus irritabile) in the print of the Bistrest 
Poet ? or if an image of maternal love be required, where shall 
we find a sublimer view of it than in that aged woman in Industry 
and Idleness (plate v.) who is clinging with the fondness of hope 
not quite extinguished to her brutal vice-hardened child, whom she 
is accompanying to the ship which is to bear him away from his 
native soil, of which he has been adjudged unworthy : in whose 
shocking face every trace of the human countenance seems obliter- 
ated, and a brute beast's to be left instead, shocking and repulsive 
to all but her who watched over it in its cradle before it was so 
sadly altered, and feels it must belong to her while a pulse by the 
vindictive laws of his country shall be suffered to continue to beat 
in it. Compared with such things, what is Mr. Penny's " knowledge 
of the figure and academical skill which Hogarth wanted ? " 

With respect to what follows concerning another gentleman, with 



GENIUS AND CHARACTER OF HOGARTH 83 

the congratulations to him on his escape out of the regions of 
" humour and caricatura," in which it appears he was in danger of 
travelling side by side with Hogarth, I can only congratulate my 
country, that Mrs. Hogarth knew her province better than by 
disturbing her husband at his pallet to divert him from that 
universality of subject, which has stamped him perhaps, next to 
Shakspeare, the most inventive genius which this island has pro- 
duced, into the " amiable pursuit of beautiful nature," i.e. copying 
ad infinitum the individual charms and graces of Mrs. H . 

" Hogarth's method of exposing meanness, deformity, and vice, 
paddling in whatever is ridiculous, faulty, and vicious." 

A person unacquainted with the works thus stigmatised, would be 
apt to imagine, that in Hogarth there was nothing else to be found 
but subjects of the coarsest and most repulsive nature. That his 
imagination was naturally unsweet, and that he delighted in raking 
into every species of moral filth. That he preyed upon sore places 
only, and took a pleasure in exposing the unsound and rotten parts 
of human nature ; — whereas, with the exception of some of the plates 
of the Harlot's Progress, which are harder in their character than 
any of the rest of his productions, (the Stages of Cruelty I omit 
as mere worthless caricaturas, foreign to his general habits, the off- 
spring of his fancy in some wayward humour), there is scarce one 
of his pieces where vice is most strongly satirised, in which some 
figure is not introduced upon which the moral eye may rest satisfied ; 
a face that indicates goodness, or perhaps mere good humouredness 
and carelessness of mind (negation of evil) only, yet enough to give 
a relaxation to the frowning brow of satire, and keep the general 
air from tainting. Take the mild, supplicating posture of patient 
Poverty in the poor woman that is persuading the pawnbroker to 
accept her clothes in pledge, in the plate of Gin Lane, for an 
instance. A little does it, a little of the good nature overpowers a 
world of bad. One cordial honest laugh of a Tom Jones absolutely 
clears the atmosphere that was reeking with the black putrifying 
breathings of a hypocrite Blifil. One homely expostulating shrug 
from Strap, warms the whole air which the suggestions of a gentle- 
manly ingratitude from his friend Random had begun to freeze. One 
" Lord bless us ! " of Parson Adams upon the wickedness of the 
times, exorcises and purges off the mass of iniquity which the world- 
knowledge of even a Fielding could cull out and rake together. But 
of the severer class of Hogarth's performances, enough, I trust, has 
been said to shew that they do not merely shock and repulse ; that 
there is in them the " scorn of vice " and the " pity " too ; some- 
thing to touch the heart, and keep alive the sense of moral beauty ; 
the " lacrymae rerum," and the sorrowing by which the heart is made 
better. If they be bad things, then is satire and tragedy a bad 



84 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

thing ; let us proclaim at once an age of gold, and sink the existence 
of vice and misery in our speculations ; let us 

wink, and shut our apprehensions up 

From common sense of what men were and are ; 

let us Tnake believe with the children that every body is good and 
happy ; and, with Dr. Swift, write panegyrics upon the world. 

But that larger half of Hogarth's works which were painted more 
for entertainment than instruction (though such was the suggestive- 
ness of his mind, that there is always something to be learnt from 
them) his humourous scenes, — are they such as merely to disgust 
and set us against our species ? 

The confident assertions of such a man as I consider the late Mr. 
Barry to have been, have that weight of authority in them which 
staggers, at first hearing, even a long preconceived opinion. When 
I read his pathetic admonition concerning the shortness of life, and 
how much better the little leisure of it were laid out upon " that 
species of art which is employed about the amiable and the admir- 
able ; " and Hogarth's " method " proscribed as a " dangerous or 
worthless pursuit," I began to think there was something in it ; that 
I might have been indulging all my life a passion for the works of 
this artist, to the utter prejudice of my taste and moral sense ; but 
my first convictions gradually returned, a world of good-natured 
English faces came up one by one to my recollection, and a glance 
at the matchless Election Entertainment, which I have the hap- 
piness to have hanging up in my parlour, subverted Mr. Barry's 
whole theory in an instant. 

In that inimitable print, (which in my judgment as far exceeds 
the more known and celebrated March to Finchley, as the best 
comedy exceeds the best farce that ever was written,) let a person 
look till he be saturated, and when he has done wondering at the 
inventiveness of genius which could bring so many characters (more 
than thirty distinct classes of face) into a room, and set them down 
at table together, or otherwise dispose them about, in so natural a 
manner, engage them in so many easy sets and occupations, yet all 
partaking of the spirit of the occasion which brought them together, 
so that we feel that nothing but an election time could have 
assembled them ; having no central figm-e or principal group, (for 
the hero of the piece, the Candidate, is properly set aside in the 
levelling indistinction of the day, one must look for him to find 
him) nothing to detain the eye from passing from part to part, 
where every part is alike instinct with life, — for here are no 
furniture-faces, no figures brought in to fill up the scene like stage 
choruses, but all dramatis persona? : when he shall have done 
wondering at all these faces so strongly charactered, yet finished 



GENIUS AND CHARACTER OF HOGARTH 85 

with the accuracy of the finest miniature ; when he shall have done 
admiring the numberless appendages of the scene, those gratuitous 
doles which rich genius flings into the heap when it has already 
done enough, the over-measure which it delights in giving, as if its 
stores were exhaustless; the dumb rhetoric of the scenery — for 
tables, and chairs, and joint-stools in Hogarth, are living and 
significant things ; the witticisms that are expressed by words, (all 
artists but Hogarth have failed when they have endeavoured to com- 
bine two mediums of expression, and have introduced words into their 
pictures), and the unwritten numberless little allusive pleasantries 
that are scattered about ; the work that is going on in the scene, 
and beyond it, as is made visible to the " eye of mind," by the mob 
which choaks up the door-way, and the sword that has forced an 
entrance before its master: when he shall have sufficiently admired 
this wealth of genius, let him fairly say what is the result left on 
his mind. Is it an impression of the vileness and worthlessness of 
his species ? or is not the general feeling which remains, after the 
individual faces have ceased to act sensibly on his mind, a kindly 
one in favour of his species ? was not the general air of the 
whole scene wholesome ? did it do the heart hurt to be among it ? 
Something of a riotous spirit to be sure is there, some worldly- 
mindedness in some of the faces, a Doddingtonian smoothness which 
does not promise any superfluous degree of sincerity in the fine 
gentleman who has been the occasion of calling so much good 
company together : but is not the general cast of expression in the 
faces, of the good sort ? do they not seem cut out of the good old 
rock, substantial English honesty ? would one fear treachery among 
characters of their expression ? or shall we call their honest mirth 
and seldom-returning relaxation by the hard names of vice and 
profligacy ? That poor country fellow, that is grasping his staff" 
(which, from that difficulty of feeling themselves at home which poor 
men experience at a feast, he has never parted with since he came 
into the room), and is enjoying with a relish that seems to fit all the 
capacities of his soul the slender joke, which that facetious wag his 
neighbour is practising upon the gouty gentleman, whose eyes the 
effort to suppress pain has made as round as rings — does it shock 
the "dignity of human natm-e" to look at that man, and to 
sympathise with him in the seldom-heard joke which has unbent 
his care-worn hard-working visage, and drawn iron smiles from it? 
or with that full-hearted cobbler who is honouring with the grasp 
of an honest fist the unused palm of that annoyed patrician, whom 
the license of the time has seated next him ? 

I can see nothing " dangerous " in the contemplation of such 
scenes as this, or the Enraged Musician, or the Southwark 
Fair, or twenty other pleasant prints which come crowding in 



86 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

upon my recollection, in which the restless activities, the diversified 
bents and humours, the blameless peculiarities of men, as they 
deserve to be called, rather than their " vices and follies," are held 
up in a laughable point of view. All laughter is not of a dangerous 
or soul-hardening tendency. There is the petrifying sneer of a 
demon which excludes and kills Love, and there is the cordial 
laughter of a man which implies and cherishes it. What heart 
was ever made the worse by joining in a hearty laugh at the 
simplicities of Sir Hugh Evans or Parson Adams, where a sense of 
the ridiculous mutually kindles and is kindled by a perception of 
the amiable ? That tumultuous harmony of singers that are roaring 
out the words, "The world shall bow to the Assyrian throne," from 
the opera of Judith, in the third plate of the series, called the 
Four Groups of Heads ; which the quick eye of Hogarth must 
have struck off in the very infancy of the rage for sacred oratorios 
in this country, while "Music yet was young ; " when we have done 
smiling at the deafening distortions, which these tearers of devotion 
to rags and tatters, these takers of Heaven by storm, in their 
boisterous mimicry of the occupation of angels, are making, — what 
unkindly impression is left behind, or what more of harsh or con- 
temptuous feeling, than when we quietly leave Uncle Toby and Mr. 
Shandy riding their hobby-horses about the room .'' The conceited, 
long-backed Sign-painter, that with all the self-applause of a 
Raphael or Correggio (the twist of body which his conceit has 
thrown him into has something of the CoiTeggiesque in it) is con- 
templating the picture of a bottle which he is drawing from an 
actual bottle that hangs beside him, in the print of Beer Street, — 
while we smile at the enormity of the self delusion, can we help 
loving the good humour and self-complacency of the fellow .? would 
we willingly wake him from his dream ? 

I say not that all the ridiculous subjects of Hogarth have 
necessarily something in them to make us like them ; some are 
indifferent to us, some in their natures repulsive, and only made 
interesting by the wonderful skill and truth to nature in the 
painter; but I contend that there is in most of them that 
sprinkling of the better nature, which, hke holy water, chases away 
and disperses the contagion of the bad. They have this in them 
besides, that they bring us acquainted with the every-day human 
face, — they give us skill to detect those gradations of sense and 
virtue (which escape the careless or fastidious observer) in the 
countenances of the world about us ; and prevent that disgust at 
common life, that tcedium quotidianarum formarum, which an 
unrestricted passion for ideal forms and beauties is in danger of 
producing. In this, as in many other things, they are analogous 
to the best novels of Smollett or Fielding;. 



ON HISSING AT THE THEATRES 87 

ON THE CUSTOM OF HISSING AT THE THEATRES, 
WITH SOME ACCOUNT OF A CLUB OF DAMNED 
AUTHORS 

(1811) 

MR. REFLECTOR, I am one of those persons whom the 
world has thought proper to designate by the title of 
Damned Authors. In that memorable season of dramatic failures, 
1806-7, in which no fewer, I think, than two tragedies, four 
comedies, one opera, and three farces, suffered at Drury-lane 
theatre, I was found guilty of constructing an afterpiece, and was 
damned. 

Against the decision of the public in such instances there can 
be no appeal. The Clerk of Chatham might as well have protested 
against the decision of Cade and his followers, who were then the 
'public. Like him I was condemned, because I could write. 

Not but it did appear to some of us, that the measures of the 
popular tribunal at that period savoured a little of harshness and 
of the summum jus. The public mouth was early in the season 
fleshed upon the Vindictive Man, and some pieces of that nature, 
and it retained through the remainder of it a relish of blood. As 
Dr. Johnson would have said ; sir, there was a habit of sibilation in 
the house. 

Still less am I disposed to inquire into the reason of the com- 
parative lenity, on the other hand, with which some pieces were 
treated, which, to indifferent judges, seemed at least as much 
deserving of condemnation as some of those which met with it. 
I am willing to put a favourable construction upon the votes that 
were given against us; I believe that there was no bribery or 
designed partiality in the case; — only "our nonsense did not 
happen to suit their nonsense;" that' was all. 

But against the manner in which the public on these occasions 
think fit to deliver their disapprobation, I must and ever 
will protest. 

Sir, imagine but you have been present at the damning of a 

piece those who never had that felicity, I beg them to imagine — 

a vast theatre, like that which Drury-lane was, before it was a heap 
of dust and ashes (I insult not over its fallen greatness, let it 
recover itself when it can for me, let it lift up its towering head 
once more, and take in poor authors to write for it, hie coestus 
artemque repono) — -a theatre like that, filled with all sorts of 
disgusting sounds, — shrieks, groans, hisses, but chiefly the last, like 
the noise of many waters, or that which Don Quixote heard from 



88 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

the fulling mills, or that wilder combination of devilish sounds 
which St. Anthony listened to in the wilderness. 

O, Mr. Reflector, is it not a pity, that the sweet human voice, 
which was given man to speak with, to sing with, to whisper tones 
of love in, to express compliance, to convey a favour, or to grant 
a suit— that voice, which in a Siddons, or a Braham, rouses us, in a 
Syren Catalani charms and captivates us, — that the musical, ex- 
pressive human voice should be converted into a rival of the noises 
of silly geese, and irrational venomous snakes ! 

I shall never forget the sounds on my night ; I never before that 
time fully felt the reception which the Author of All 111 in the 
Paradise Lost meets with from the critics in the pit, at the final 
close of his Tragedy upon the Human Race — though that, alas ! 
met with too much success — 

from innumerable tongues, 

A dismal universal hiss, the sound 

Of public scorn. — Dreadful was the din 

Of hissing through the hall, thick swarming now 

With complicated monsters, head and tail, 

Scorpion and asp, and Amphisbcena dire, 

Cerastes horn'd, Hydrus, and Elops drear, 

And Dipsas. 

For hall substitute theatre, and you have the very image of 
what takes place at what is called the damnation of a piece, — 
and properly so called ; for here you see its origin plainly, whence 
the custom was derived, and what the first piece was that 
so suffered. After this none can doubt the propriety of the 
appellation. 

But, sir, as to the justice of bestowing such appalling, heart- 
withering denunciations of the popular obloquy, upon the venial 
mistake of a poor author, who thought to please us in the act of 
filling his pockets, — ^for the sum of his demerits amounts to no more 
than that, — it does, I own, seem to me a species of retributive 
justice, far too severe for the offence. A culprit in the pillory 
(bate the eggs) meets with no severer exprobation. 

Indeed, I have often wondered that some modest critic has not 
proposed, that there should be a wooden machine to that effect 
erected in some convenient part of the proscenium, which an un- 
successful author should be required to mount, and stand his hour, 
exposed to the apples and oranges of the pit ; — this amende 
honorable would well suit with the meanness of some authors, who 
in their prologues fairly prostrate their sculls to the Audience, 
and seem to invite a pelting. 

Or why should they not have their pens publicly broke over 
their heads, as the swords of recreant knights in old times were. 



ON HISSING AT THE THEATRES 89 

and an oath administered to them that they should never write 
again. 

Seriously, Messieurs the Public, this outrageous way which you 
have got of expressing your displeasures, is too much for the 
occasion. When I was deafening under the effects of it, I could 
not help asking, what crime of great moral turpitude I had 
committed : for every man about me seemed to feel the offence as 
personal to himself, as something which public interest and private 
feelings alike called upon him in the strongest possible manner to 
stigmatise with infamy. 

The Romans, it is well known to you, Mr. Reflector, took a 
gentler method of marking their disapprobation of an author's 
work. They were a humane and equitable nation. — They left the 
furca and the patibulum, the axe and the rods, to great offenders : 
for these minor, and (if I may so term them) extra-moral offences, 
the bent thumb was considered as a sufficient sign of disapprobation, 
vertere pollicem ; as the -pressed thumb, premere pollicem, was a 
mark of approving. 

And really there seems to have been a sort of fitness in this 
method, a correspondency of sign in the punishment to the offence ; 
for as the action of writing is performed by bending the thumb 
forward, the retroversion, or bending back of that joint, did not 
unaptly point to the opposite of that action, implying, that it was 
the will of the audience that the author should write no more. A 
much more significant, as well as more humane, way of expressing 
that desire, than our custom of hissing, which is altogether senseless 
and indefensible. Nor do we find that the Roman audiences 
deprived themselves, by this lenity, of any tittle of that supremacy 
which audiences in all ages have thought themselves bound to 
maintain over such as have been candidates for their applause. On 
the contrary, by this method they seem to have had the author, as 
we should express it, completely under finger and thumb. 

The provocations to which a dramatic genius is exposed from the 
public are so much the more vexatious, as they are removed from 
any possibility of retaliation, the hope of which sweetens most other 
injuries: — for the public never writes itself. — Not but something 
very like it took place at the time of the O.P. differences. The 
placards which were nightly exhibited, were, properly speaking, 
the composition of the public. — The public wrote them, the public 
applauded them, and precious morceaus of wit and eloquence they 
were ; except some few, of a better quality, which it is well known 
were furnished by professed dramatic writers. After this specimen 
of what the public can do for itself, it should be a little slow 
in condemning what others do for it. 

As the degrees of malignancy vary in people according as they 



90 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

have more or less of the Old Serpent (the father of hisses) in their 
composition, I have sometimes amused myself with analyzmg this 
many-headed hydra, which calls itself the public, into the component 
parts of which it is " complicated, head and tail," and seeing how 
many varieties of the snake kind it can afford. 

First, there is the Common English Snake.— This is that part 
of the auditory who are always the majority at damnations, but 
who, having no critical venom in themselves to sting them on, stay 
till they hear others hiss, and then join in for company. 

The Blind Worm is a species very nearly allied to the foregoing. 
Some naturalists have doubted whether they are not the same. 

The Rattle Snake.— These are your obstreperous talking critics, 
— the impertinent guides of the pit,— who will not give a plain 
man leave to enjoy an evening's entertainment, but with their 
frothy jargon, and incessant finding of faults, either drown his 
pleasure quite, or force him in his own defence to join in their 
clamorous censure. The hiss always originates with these. When 
this creature springs his rattle, you would think, from the noise 
it makes, there was something in it ; but you have only to examine 
the instrument from which the noise proceeds, and you will find it 
typical of a critic's tongue, — a shallow membrane, empty, voluble, 
and seated in the most contemptible part of the creature's body. 

The Whip Snake. — This is he that lashes the poor author the 
next day in the newspapers. 

The Deaf Adder, or Surda Echidna of Linnaeus. — Under this 
head may be classed all that portion of the spectators (for audience 
they properly are not) who not finding the first act of a piece 
answer to their preconceived notions of what a first act should 
be, like Obstinate in John Bunyan, positively thrust their fingers 
in their ears, that they may not hear a word of what is coming, 
though perhaps the very next act may be composed in a style as 
different as possible, and be written quite to their own tastes. 
These Adders refuse to hear the voice of the charmer, because the 
tuning of his instrument gave them offence. 

I should weary you and myself too, if I were to go through all 
the classes of the serpent kind. Two qualities are common to 
them all. They are creatures of remarkably cold digestions, and 
chiefly haunt pits and low grounds. 

I proceed with more pleasure to give you an account of a Club 
to which I have the honour to belong. There are fourteen of us, 
who are all authors that have been once in our lives what is called 
damned. We meet on the anniversaries of our respective nights, 
and make ourselves merry at the expence of the public. The chief 
tenets which distinguish our society, and which every man among 
us is bound to hold for gospel, are, — 



ON HISSING AT THE THEATRES 91 

That the public, or mob, in all ages, have been a set of blind, 
deaf, obstinate, senseless, illiterate savages. That no man of genius 
in his senses would be ambitious of pleasing such a capricious, 
ungrateful rabble. That the only legitimate end of writing for 
them is to pick their pockets, and, that failing, we are at full 
liberty to vilify and abuse them as much as ever we think fit. 

That authors, by their aifected pretences to humility, which 
they make use of as a cloak to insinuate their writings into the 
callous senses of the multitude, obtuse to every thing but the 
grossest flattery, have by degrees made that great beast their 
master ; as we may act submission to children till we are obliged 
to practise it in earnest. That authors are and ought to be con- 
sidered the masters and preceptors of the public, and not vice 
versa. That it was so in the days of Orpheus, Linus, and 
Musaeus, and would be so again, if it were not that writers prove 
traitors to themselves. That in particular, in the days of the 
first of those three great authors just mentioned, audiences appear 
to have been perfect models of what audiences should be ; for 
though along with the trees and the rocks and the wild creatures, 
which he drew after him to listen to his strains, some serpents 
doubtless came to hear his music, it does not appear that any one 
among them ever lifted up a dissentient voice. They knew what 
was due to authors in those days. Now every stock and stone 
turns into a serpent, and has a voice. 

That the terms "Courteous Reader" and "Candid Auditors," 
as having given rise to a false notion in those to whom they were 
applied, as if they conferred upon them some right, which they 
cannot have, of exercising their judgments, ought to be utterly 
banished and exploded. 

These are our distinguishing tenets. To keep up the memory 
of the cause in which we suffered, as the ancients sacrificed a goat, 
a supposed unhealthy animal, to JEsculapius, on our feast-nights 
we cut up a goose, an animal typical of the popular voice, to the 
deities of Candour and Patient Hearing. A zealous member of 
the society once proposed that we should revive the obsolete luxury 
of , viper-broth ; but the stomachs of some of the company rising at 
the proposition, we lost the benefit of that highly salutary and 
antidotal dish. 

The privilege of admission to our club is strictly limited to such 
as have been fairly damned. A piece that has met with ever so 
little applause, that has but languished its night or two, and then 
gone out, will never entitle its author to a seat among us. An 
exception to our usual readiness in conferring this privilege is, in 
the case of a writer, who having been once condemned, writes 
again, and becomes candidate for a second martyrdom. Simple 



92 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

damnation we hold to be a merit, but to be twice-damned we 
adjudge infamous. Such a one we utterly reject, and black-ball 
without a hearing : — 

The common damn'd shun his society. 

Hoping that your publication of our Regulations may be a means 

of inviting some more members into our society, I conclude this 

long letter. I am, Sir, yours, 

Semel-damnatus. 



ON BURIAL SOCIETIES; AND THE CHARACTER OF 
AN UNDERTAKER 

(1811. Text OF 1818) 

To the Editor of the Reflector 

MR. REFLECTOR, — I was amused the other day with having 
the following notice thrust into my hand by a man who 
gives out bills at the corner of Fleet-market. Whether he saw any 
prognostics about me, that made him judge such notice seasonable, 
I cannot say ; I might perhaps carry in a countenance (naturally not 
very florid) traces of a fever which had not long left me. Those 
fellows have a good instinctive way of guessing at the sort of people 
that are likeliest to pay attention to their papers. 

" Burial Society 

" A favourable opportunity now offers to any person, of either 
sex, who would wish to be buried in a genteel manner, by paying 
one shilling entrance, and two-pence per week for the benefit of the 
stock. Members to be fi-ee in six months. The money to be paid 
at Mr. Middleton's, at the sign of the First and the Last, Stone- 
cutter's-street. Fleet-market. The deceased to be furnished as 
follows : — A strong elm coffin, covered with superfine black, and 
finished with two rows, all round, close drove, best japanned nails, 
and adorned with ornamental drops, a handsome plate of inscrip- 
tion. Angel above, and Flower beneath, and four pair of handsome 
handles, with wrought gripes ; the coffin to be well pitched, lined, 
and ruffled with fine crape ; a handsome crape shroud, cap, and 
pillow. For use, a handsome velvet pall, three gentlemen's cloaks. 



ON BURIAL SOCIETIES 93 

thi-ee crape hatbands, three hoods and scarfs, and six pair of gloves ; 
two porters equipped to attend the funeral, a man to attend the 
same with band and gloves ; also, the burial fees paid, if not exceed- 
ing one guinea." 

" Man," says Sir Thomas Browne, " is a noble animal, splendid in 
ashes, and pompous in the grave." Whoever drew up this little 
advertisement, certainly understood this appetite in the species, and 
has made abundant provision for it. It really almost induces a 
tcedium vitce upon one to read it. Methinks I could be willing to 
die, in death to be so attended. The two rows all round close- 
drove best black japanned nails, — how feelingly do they invite and 
almost irresistibly persuade us to come and be fastened down ! what 
aching head can resist the temptation to repose, which the crape 
shroud, the cap, and the pillow present ; what sting is there in 
death, which the handles with wrought gripes are not calculated to 
pluck away ? what victory in the grave, which the drops and the 
velvet pall do not render at least extremely disputable ; but above 
all, the pretty emblematic plate with the Angel above and the 
Flower beneath, takes me mightily. 

The notice goes on to inform us, that though the society has 
been established but a very few years, upwards of eleven hundred 
persons have put down their names. It is really an aflRscting con- 
sideration to think of so many poor people, of the industrious and 
hard working class (for none but such would be possessed of such a 
generous forethought) clubbing their twopences to save the reproach 
of a parish funeral. Many a poor fellow, I dare swear, has that 
Angel and Flower kept from the Angel and Punchbowl, while, to 
provide himself a bier, he has curtailed himself of beer. Many a 
savory morsel has the living body been deprived of, that the life- 
less one might be served up in a richer state to the worms. And 
sure, if the body could understand the actions of the soul, and 
entertain generous notions of things, it would thank its provident 
partner, that she had been more solicitous to defend it from dis- 
honours at its dissolution, than careful to pamper it with good 
things in the time of its union. If Cassar were chiefly anxious at 
his death how he might die most decently, every Burial Society 
may be considered as a Club of Caesars. 

Nothing tends to keep up, in the imaginations of the poorer sort 
of people, a generous horror of the workhouse more than the manner 
in which pauper funerals are conducted in this metropolis. The 
cofBn nothing but a few naked planks, coarsely put together, — the 
want of a pall (that decent and well-imagined veil, which, hiding 
the coffin that hides the body, keeps that which would shock us at 
two removes from us), the coloured coats of the men that are hired, 
at cheap rates, to carry the body, — altogether, give the notion of 



94 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

the deceased having been some person of an ill-life and conversation, 
some one who may not claim the entire rites of Christian burial, — 
one by whom some parts of the sacred ceremony would be dese- 
crated if they should be bestowed upon him. I meet these meagre 
processions sometimes in the street. They are sure to make me 
out of humour and melancholy all the day after. They have a 
harsh and ominous aspect. 

If there is any thing in the prospectus issued from Mr. Middle- 
ton's, Stonecutter's-street, which pleases me less than the rest, it 
is to find, that the six pair of gloves are to be returned, that they 
are only lent, or, as the bill expresses it, for use, on the occasion. 
The hood, scarfs, and hatbands, may properly enough be given up 
after the solemnity : the cloaks no gentleman would think of keep- 
ing ; but a pair of gloves, once fitted on, ought not in courtesy to 
be re-demanded. The wearer should certainly have the fee-simple 
of them. The cost would be but trifling, and they would be a 
proper memorial of the day. This part of the Proposal wants 
reconsidering. It is not conceived in the same liberal way of 
thinking as the rest. I am also a little doubtful whether the 
limit, within which the burial-fee is made payable, should not be 
extended to thirty shillings. 

Some provision too ought undoubtedly to be made in favour of 
those well-intentioned persons and well-wishers to the fund, who, 
having all along paid their subscriptions regularly, are so unfor- 
tunate as to die before the six months, which would entitle them 
to their freedom, are quite completed. One can hardly imagine a 
more distressing case than that of a poor fellow lingering on in a 
consumption till the period of his freedom is almost in sight, and 
then finding himself going with a velocity which makes it doubtful 
whether he shall be entitled to his funeral honours : his quota to 
which he nevertheless squeezes out, to the diminution of the com- 
forts which sickness demands. I think, in such cases, some of the 
contribution-money ought to revert. With some such modifica- 
tions, which might easily be introduced, I see nothing in these 
Proposals of Mr. Middleton which is not strictly fair and genteel ; 
and heartily recommend them to all persons of moderate incomes, 
in either sex, who are willing that this perishable part of them 
should quit the scene of its mortal activities, with as handsome 
circumstances as possible. 

Before I quit the subject, I must guard my readers against a 
scandal, which they may be apt to take at the place whence these 
Proposals purport to be issued. From the sign of the First and 
the Last, they may conclude that Mr. Middleton is some publican, 
who, in assembling a club of this description at his house, may have 
a sinister end of his own, altogether foreign to the solemn purpose 



ON BURIAL SOCIETIES 95 

for which the club is pretended to be instituted. I must set them 
right by informing them that the issuer of these Proposals is no 
publican, though he hangs out a sign, but an honest superin- 
tendent of funerals, who, by the device of a Cradle and a Coffin, 
connecting both ends of human existence together, has most in- 
geniously contrived to insinuate, that the framers of these first 
and last receptacles of mankind divide this our life betwixt them, 
and that all that passes from the midwife to the undertaker may, 
in strict propriety, go for nothing : an awful and instructive lesson 
to human vanity. 

Looking over some papers lately that fell into my hands by 
chance, and appear to have been written about the beginning of 
the last century, I stumbled, among the rest, upon the following 
short Essay, which the writer calls " The Character of an Under- 
taker." It is written with some stiffness and peculiarities of style, 
but some parts of it, I think, not unaptly characterise the profession 
to which Mr. Middleton has the honour to belong. The writer 
doubtless had in his mind the entertaining character of Sable, in 
Steele's excellent comedy of the Funeral. 

Character of an Undertaker 

" He is master of th« ceremonies at burials and mourning 
assemblies, grand marshal at funeral processions, the only true 
yeoman of the body, over which he exercises a dictatorial authority 
from the moment that the breath has taken leave to that of its 
final commitment to the earth. His ministry begins where the 
physician's, the lawyer's, and the divine's, end. Or if some part of 
the functions of the latter run parallel with his, it is only in 
ordine ad spiritualia. His temporalities remain unquestioned. 
He is arbitrator of all questions of honour which may concern the 
defiinct ; and upon slight inspection will pronounce how long he 
may remain in this upper world with credit to himself, and when 
it will be prudent for his reputation that he should retire. His 
determination in these points is peremptory and without appeal. 
Yet, with a modesty peculiar to his profession, he meddles not out 
of his own sphere. With the good or bad actions of the deceased 
in his life-time he has nothing to do. He leaves the friends of 
the dead man to form their own conjectures as to the place to 
which the departed spirit is gone. His care is only about the 
exuviae. He concerns not himself even about the body, as it is a 
structure of parts internal, and a wonderful microcosm. He leaves 
such curious speculations to the anatomy professor. Or, if any 
thing, he is averse to such wanton enquiries, as delighting rather 
that the parts which he has care of should be returned to their 



96 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

kindred dust in as handsome and unmutilated condition as possible ; 
that the grave should have its full and unimpaired tribute, — a com- 
plete and just carcass. Nor is he only careful to provide for the 
body's entirefless, but for its accommodation and ornament. He 
orders the fashion of its clothes, and designs the symmetry of its 
dwelling. Its vanity has an innocent survival in him. He is bed- 
maker to the dead. The pillows which he lays never rumple. The 
day of interment is the theatre in which he displays the mysteries 
of his art. It is hard to describe what he is, or rather to tell what 
he is not, on that day : for, being neither kinsman, servant, nor 
friend, he is all in turns ; a transcendent, running through all those 
relations. His office is to supply the place of self-agency in the 
family, who are presumed incapable of it through grief. He is 
eyes, and ears, and hands, to the whole household. A draught of 
wine cannot go round to the mourners, but he must minister it. 
A chair may hardly be restored to its place by a less solemn hand 
than his. He takes upon himself all functions, and is a sort of 
ephemeral major-domo! He distributes his attentions among the 
company assembled according to the degree of affliction, which he 
calculates from the degree of kin to the deceased ; and marshals 
them accordingly in the procession. He himself is of a sad and 
tristful countenance ; yet such as (if well examined) is not without 
some show of patience and resignation at bottom : prefiguring, as 
it were, to the friends of the deceased, what their grief shall be 
when the hand of Time shall have softened and taken down the 
bitterness of their first anguish ; so handsomely can he fore-shape 
and anticipate the work of Time. Lastly, with his wand, as with 
another divining rod, he calculates the depth of earth at which 
the bones of the dead man may rest, which he ordinarily contrives 
may be at such a distance from the surface of this earth, as may 
frustrate the profane attempts of such as would violate his repose, 
yet sufficiently on this side the centre to give his friends hopes of 
an easy and practicable resurrection. And here we leave him, 
casting in dust to dust, which is the last friendly office that he 
undertakes to do." 

Begging your pardon for detaining you so long among " graves, 
and worms, and epitaphs," 

I am. Sir, 

Your humble servant, 

MORITURUS. 



ON THE TEAGEDIES OF SHAKSPEARE 97 

ON THE TRAGEDIES OF SHAKSPEARE, CONSIDERED 
WITH REFERENCE TO THEIR FITNESS FOR STAGE 
REPRESENTATION 

(1811. Text of 1818) 

TAKING a turn the other day in the Abbey, I was struck with 
the affected attitude of a figure, which I do not remember 
to have seen before, and which upon examination proved to be a 
whole-length of the celebrated Mr. Garrick. Though I would not 
go so far with some good catholics abroad as to shut players 
altogether out of consecrated ground, yet I own I was not a little 
scandalized at the introduction of theatrical airs and gestures into 
a place set apart to remind us of the saddest realities. Going 
nearer, I found inscribed under this harlequin figure the following 
lines : — 

To paint fair Nature, by divine command, 
Her magic pencil in his glowing hand, 
A Shakspeare rose : then to expand his fame 
Wide o'er this breathing world, a Garrick came. 
Though sunk in death the forms the Poet drew. 
The Actor's genius bade them breathe anew ; 
Though, like the bard himself, in night they lay. 
Immortal Garrick call'd them back to day : 
And till Eternity with power sublime, 
Shall mark the mortal hour of hoary Time, 
Shakspeare and Garrick like twin stars shall shine, 
And earth irradiate with a beam divine. 

It would be an insult to my readers' understandings to attempt 
any thing like a criticism on this farrago of false thoughts and non- 
sense. But the reflection it led me into was a kind of wonder, how, 
from the days of the actor here celebrated to our own, it should 
have been the fashion to compliment every performer in his turn, 
that has had the luck to please the town in any of the great 
characters of Shakspeare, with the notion of possessing a mind 
congenial with the poet's : how people should come thus un- 
accountably to confound the power of originating poetical images 
and conceptions with the faculty of being able to read or recite the 
same when put into words ; ^ or what connection that absolute 
mastery over the heart and soul of man, which a great dramatic 

^ It is observable that we fall into this confusion only in dramatic recitations. We 
never dream that the gentleman who reads Lucretius in public with great applause, 
is therefore a great poet and philosopher ; nor do we find that Tom Davies, the 
bookseller, who is recorded to have recited the Paradise Lost better than any 
man in England in his day (though I cannot help thinking there must be some 
mistake in this tradition) was therefore, by his intimate friends, set upon a level 
with Milton. 

VOL. I. — 7 



98 MISCELLANEOUS PKOSE, 1798-1834 

poet possesses, has with those low tricks upon the eye and ear, 
which a player by observing a few general effects, which some 
common passion, as grief, anger, &c. usually has upon the gestures 
and exterior, can so easily compass. To know the internal workings 
and movements of a great mind, of an Othello or a Hamlet for 
instance, the when and the why and the how far they should be 
moved ; to what pitch a passion is becoming ; to give the reins and 
to pull in the curb exactly at the moment when the drawing in or 
the slackening is most graceful ; seems to demand a reach of intellect 
of a vastly different extent from that which is employed upon the 
bare imitation of the signs of these passions in the countenance or 
gesture, which signs are usually observed to be most lively and em- 
phatic in the weaker sort of minds, and which signs can after all 
but indicate some passion, as I said before, anger, or grief, gener- 
ally ; but of the motives and grounds of the passion, wherein it 
differs from the same passion in low and vulgar natures, of these the 
actor can give no more idea by his face or gesture than the eye 
(without a metaphor) can speak, or the muscles utter intelligible 
sounds. But such is the instantaneous nature of the impressions 
which we take in at the eye and ear at a playhouse, compared with 
the slow apprehension oftentimes of the understanding in reading, 
that we are apt not only to sink the play-writer in the consideration 
which we pay to the actor, but even to identify in our minds in a 
perverse manner, the actor with the character which he represents. It 
is difficult for a frequent playgoer to disembarrass the idea of Hamlet 
from the person and voice of Mr. K. We speak of Lady Macbeth, 
while we are in reality thinking of Mrs. S. Nor is this confusion 
incidental alone to unlettered persons, who, not possessing the 
advantage of reading, are necessarily dependent upon the stage- 
player for all the pleasure which they can receive from the drama, 
and to whom the very idea of what an author is cannot be made 
comprehensible without some pain and perplexity of mind : the 
error is one from which persons otherwise not meanly lettered, find 
it almost impossible to extricate themselves. 

Never let me be so ungrateful as to forget the very high degree 
of satisfaction which I received some years back from seeing for 
the first time a tragedy of Shakspeare performed, in which these 
two great performers sustained the principal parts. It seemed to 
embody and realize conceptions which had hitherto assumed no 
distinct shape. But dearly do we pay all our life after for this 
juvenile pleasure, this sense of distinctness. When the novelty is 
past, we find to our cost that instead of realizing an idea, we have 
only materialized and brought down a fine vision to the standard of 
flesh and blood. We have let go a dream, in quest of an unattain- 
able substance. 



ON THE TRAGEDIES OF SHAKSPEARE 99 

How cruelly this operates upon the mind, to have its free con- 
ceptions thus crampt and pressed down to the measure of a 
strait -lacing actuality, may be judged from that delightful sensation 
of freshness, with which we turn to those plays of Shakspeare 
which have escaped being performed, and to those passages in the 
acting plays of the same writer which have happily been left out in 
performance. How far the very custom of hearing any thing spouted, 
withers and blows upon a fine passage, may be seen in those 
speeches from Henry the Fifth, &c. which are current in the 
mouths of school-boys from their being to be found in Enfield 
Speakers, and such kind of books. I confess myself utterly 
unable to appreciate that celebrated sohloquy in Hamlet, be- 
ginning " To be or not to be," or to tell whether it be good, bad, 
or indifferent, it has been so handled and pawed about by 
declamatory boys and men, and torn so inhumanly from its living 
place and principle of continuity in the play, till it is become to me 
a perfect dead member. 

It may seem a paradox, but I cannot help being of opinion that 
the plays of Shakspeare are less calculated for performance on a 
stage, than those of almost any other dramatist whatever. Their dis- 
tinguished excellence is a reason that they should be so. There is 
so 'much in them, which comes not under the province of acting, 
with which eye, and tone, and gesture, have nothing to do. 

The glory of the scenic art is to personate passion, and the turns- 
of passion ; and the more coarse and palpable the passion is, the 
more hold upon the eyes and ears of the spectators the performer 
obviously possesses. For this reason, scolding scenes, scenes where 
two persons talk themselves into a fit of fury, and then in a 
surprising manner talk themselves out of it again, have always been 
the most popular* upon our stage. And the reason is plain, because 
the spectators are here most palpably appealed to, they are the 
proper judges in this war of words, they are the legitimate ring 
that should be formed round such "intellectual prize-fighters." 
Talking is the direct obj ect of the imitation here. But in all the best 
dramas, and in Shakspeare above all, how obvious it is, that the 
form of speaking, whether it be in soliloquy or dialogue, is only a 
medium, and often a highly artificial one, for putting the reader or 
spectator into possession of that knowledge of the inner structure 
and workings of mind in a character, which he could otherwise 
never have arrived at in that form of composition by any gift 
short of intuition. We do here as we do with novels written in 
the epistolary form. How many improprieties, perfect solecisms 
in letter-writing, do we put up with in Clarissa and other books, 
for the sake of the delight which that form upon the whole 
gives us. 



100 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

But the practice of stage representation reduces every thing to a 
controversy of elocution. Every character, from the boisterous 
blasphemings of Bajazet to the shrinking timidity of womanhood, 
must play the orator. The love-dialogues of Romeo and Juliet, 
those silver-sweet sounds of lovers' tongues by night ; the more 
intimate and sacred sweetness of nuptial colloquy between an 
Othello or a Posthumus with their married wives, all those delicacies 
which are so delightful in the reading, as when we read of those 
youthful dalliances in Paradise — 

As beseem'd 
Fair couple link'd in happy nuptial league, 
Alone : 

by the inherent fault of stage representation, how are these things 
sullied and turned from their very nature by being exposed to a 
large assembly ; when such speeches as Imogen addresses to her 
lord, come drawling out of the mouth of a hired actress, whose 
courtship, though nominally addressed to the personated Posthumus, 
is manifestly aimed at the spectators, who are to judge of her 
endearments and her returns of love. 

The character of Hamlet is perhaps that by which, since the 
days of Betterton, a succession of popular performers have had the 
greatest ambition to distinguish themselves. The length of the 
part may be one of their reasons. But for the character itself, we 
find it in a play, and therefore we judge it a fit subject of 
dramatic representation. The play itself abounds in maxims and 
reflexions beyond any other, and therefore we consider it as a proper 
vehicle for conveying moral instruction. But Hamlet himself — 
what does he suffer meanwhile by being dragged forth as a public 
schoolmaster, to give lectures to the crowd ! Why, nine parts in ten 
of what Hamlet does, are transactions between himself and his 
moral sense, they are the effusions of his solitary musings, which 
he retires to holes and corners and the most sequestered parts of 
the palace to pour forth ; or rather, they are the silent meditations 
with which his bosom is bursting, reduced to words for the sake of 
the reader, who must else remain ignorant of what is passing there. 
These profound sorrows, these light-and-noise-abhorring rumina- 
tions, which the tongue scarce dares utter to deaf walls and 
chambers, how can they be represented by a gesticulating actor, 
who comes and mouths them out before an audience, making four 
hundred people his confidants at once ? I say not that it is the 
fault of the actor so to do ; he must pronounce them ore rotundo, 
he must accompany them with his eye, he must insinuate them into 
his auditory by some trick of eye, tone, or gesture, or he fails. He 
must be thinking all the while of his appearance, because he 



ON THE TRAGEDIES OF SHAKSPEARE 101 

knows that all the while the spectators are judging of it. And 
this is the way to represent the shy, neghgent, retiring Hamlet. 

It is true that there is no other mode of conveying a vast quan- 
tity of thought and feeHng to a great portion of the audience, who 
otherwise would never earn it for themselves by reading, and 
the intellectual acquisition gained this way may, for aught I 
know, be inestimable ; but I am not arguing that Hamlet should 
not be acted, |but how much Hamlet is made another thing by 
being acted. I have heard much of the wonders which Garrick 
performed in this part ; but as I never saw him, I must have 
leave to doubt whether the representation of such a character 
came within the province of his art. Those who tell me of 
him, speak of his eye, of the magic of his eye, and of his com- 
manding voice : physical properties, vastly desirable in an actor, 
and without which he can never insinuate meaning into an 
auditory, — ^but what have they to do with Hamlet.'' what have 
they to do with intellect ? In fact, the things aimed at in 
theatrical representation, are to arrest the spectator's eye upon 
the form and the gesture, and so to gain a more favourable hearing 
to what is spoken : it is not what the character is, but how he 
looks ; not what he says, but how he speaks it. I see no reason to 
think that if the play of Hamlet were written over again by 
some such writer as Banks or Lillo, retaining the process of the 
story, but totally omitting all the poetry of it, all the divine 
features of Shakspeare, his stupendous intellect ; and only taking 
care to give us enough of passionate dialogue, which Banks or Lillo 
were never at a loss to furnish ; I see not how the effect could be 
much different upon an audience, nor how the actor has it in 
his power to represent Shakspeare to us differently from his 
representation of Banks or Lillo. Hamlet would still be a youth- 
ful accomplished prince, and must be gracefully personated ; he 
might be puzzled in his mind, wavering in his conduct, seemingly- 
cruel to Ophelia, he might see a ghost, and start at it, and address 
it kindly when he found it to be his father ; all this in the poorest 
and most homely language of the servilest creeper after nature 
that ever consulted the palate of an audience ; without troubling 
Shakspeare for the matter : and I see not but there would be 
room for all the power which an actor has, to display itself. All 
the passions and changes of passion might remain : for those are 
much less difficult to write or act than is thought, it is a trick easy 
to be attained,, it is but rising or falling a note or two in the 
voice, a whisper with a significant foreboding look to announce its 
approach, and so contagious the counterfeit appearance of any 
emotion is, that let the words be what they will, the look and tone 
shall tiarry it off and make it pass for deep skill in the passions. 



102 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

It is common for people to talk of Shakspeare's plays being so 
natural ; that every body can understand him. They are natural 
indeed, they are grounded deep in nature, so deep that the depth 
of them lies out of the reach of most of us. You shall hear the 
same persons say that George Barnwell is very natural, and 
Othello is very natural, that they are both very deep ; and to 
them they are the same kind of thing. At the one they sit and 
shed tears, because a good sort of young man is tempted by a 
naughty woman to commit a trifling peccadillo, the murder of 
an uncle or so,^ that is all, and so comes to an untimely end, which 
is so moving ; and at the other, because a blackamoor in a fit 
of jealousy kills his innocent white wife : and the odds are that 
ninety-nine out of a hundred would willingly behold the same 
catastrophe happen to both the heroes, and have thought the rope 
more due to Othello than to Barnwell. For of the texture of 
Othello's mind, the inward construction marvellously laid open 
with all its strengths and weaknesses, its heroic confidences and its 
human misgivings, its agonies of hate springing from the depths 
of love, they see no more than the spectators at a cheaper rate, 
who pay their pennies a-piece to look through the man's telescope 
in Leicester-fields, see into the inward plot and topography of 
the moon. Some dim thing or other they see, they see an actor 
personating a passion, of grief, or anger, for instance, and they 
recognize it as a copy of the usual external effects of such passions ; 
or at least as being true to that symbol of the ernotion which 
passes current at the theatre for it, for it is often no more than 
that : but of the grounds of the passion, its correspondence to a 
great or heroic nature, which is the only worthy object of tragedy, 
— that common auditors know any thing of this, or can have any 
such notions dinned into them by the mere strength of an actor's 
lungs, — that apprehensions foreign to them should be thus infused 
into them by storm, I can neither believe, nor understand how it 
can be possible. 

We talk of Shakspeare's admirable observation of life, when we 
should feel, that not from a petty inquisition into those cheap and 

^ If this note could hope to meet the eye of any of the Managers, I would entreat 
and beg of them, in the name of both the Galleries, that this insult upon the morality 
of the common people of London should cease to be eternally repeated in the holiday 
weeks. Why are the 'Prentices of this famous and well-governed city, instead of 
an amusement, to be treated over and over again with the nauseous sermon of 
George Barnwell ? Why at the end of their vistoes [vistas'] are we to place tbegalloais ? 
Were I an uncle, I should not much like a nephew of mine to have such an example 
placed before his eyes. It is really making uncle-murder too trivial to exhibit it as 
done upon such slight motives ; — it is attributing too much to such characters as 
Millwood ; — it is putting things into the heads of good young men, which they would 
never otherwise have dreamed of. Uncles that think any thing of their lives, should 
fairly petition the Chamberlain against it. 



ON THE TEAGEDIES OF SHAKSPEARE 103 

every-day characters which surrounded him, as they surround us, but 
from his own mind, which was, to borrow a phrase of Ben Jonson's, 
the very " sphere of humanity," he fetched those images of virtue 
and of knowledge, of which every one of us recognizing a part, think 
we comprehend in our natures the whole ; and oftentimes mistake 
the powers which he positively creates in us, for nothing more than 
indigenous faculties of our own minds, which only waited the appli- 
cation of corresponding virtues in him to return a full and clear 
echo of the same. 

To return to Hamlet. — Among the distinguishing features of 
that wonderful character, one of the most interesting (yet painful) 
is that soreness of mind which makes him treat the intrusions of 
Polonius with harshness, and that asperity which he puts on in his 
interviews with Ophelia. These tokens of an unhinged mind (if 
they be not mixed in the latter case with a profound artifice of love, 
to alienate Ophelia by affected discourtesies, so to prepare her mind 
for the breaking off of that loving intercourse, which can no longer 
find a place amidst business so serious as that which he has to do) 
are parts of his character, which to reconcile with our admiration of 
Hamlet, the most patient consideration of his situation is no more 
than necessary ; they are what we forgive afterwards, and explain 
by the whole of his character, but at the time they are harsh and 
unpleasant. Yet such is the actor's necessity of giving strong blows 
to the audience, that I have never seen a player in this character, 
who did not exaggerate and strain to the utmost these ambiguous 
features, — these temporary deformities in the character. They 
make him express a vulgar scorn at Polonius which utterly degrades 
his gentility, and which no explanation can render palateable ; they 
make him shew contempt, and curl up the nose at Ophelia's father, 
— contempt in its very grossest and most hateful form ; but they 
get applause by it : it is natural, people say ; that is, the words are 
scornful, and the actor expresses scorn, and that they can judge 
of : but why so much scorn, and of that sort, they never think of 
asking. 

So to Ophelia. — All the Hamlets that I have ever seen, rant and 
rave at her as if she had committed some great crime, and the 
audience are highly -pleased, because the words of the part are 
satirical, and they are enforced by the strongest expression of satirical 
indignation of which the face and voice are capable. But then, 
whether Hamlet is likely to have put on such brutal appearances to 
a lady whom he loved so dearly, is never thought on. The truth is, 
that in all such deep affections as had subsisted between Hamlet 
and Ophelia, there is a stock of supererogatory love, (if I may ven- 
ture to use the expression) which in any great grief of heart, 
especially where that which preys upon the mind cannot be com- 



104 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

municated, confers a kind of indulgence upon the grieved party to 
express itself, even to its heart's dearest object, in the language of a 
temporary alienation ; but it is not alienation, it is a distraction 
purely, and so it always makes itself to be felt by that object : it is 
not anger, but grief assuming the appearance of anger, — love 
awkwardly counterfeiting hate, as sweet countenances when they 
try to frown : but such sternness and fierce disgust as Hamlet is 
made to shew, is no counterfeit, but the real face of absolute 
aversion, — of irreconcileable alienation. It may be said he puts on 
the madman ; but then he should only so far put on this counterfeit 
lunacy as his own real distraction will give him leave; that is, 
incompletely, imperfectly ; not in that confirmed, practised way, 
like a master of his art, or, as Dame Quickly would say, " like one 
of those harlotry players." 

I mean no disrespect to any actor, but the sort of pleasure which 
Shakspeare's plays give in the acting seems to me not at all to 
differ from that which the audience receive from those of other 
writers ; and, they being in themselves essentially so different 
from all others, I must conclude that there is something in the 
nature of acting which levels all distinctions. And in fact, who 
does not speak indifferently of the Gamester and of Macbeth 
as fine stage performances, and praise the Mrs. Beverley in the 
same way as the Lady Macbeth of Mrs. S. ? Belvidera, and 
Calista, and Isabella, and Euphrasia, are they less liked than 
Imogen, or than Juliet, or than Desdemona ? Are they not 
spoken of and remembered in the same way ? Is not the female 
performer as great (as they call it) in one as in the other ? Did not 
Garrick shine, and wa^ he not ambitious of shining in every drawl- 
ing tragedy that his wretched day produced, — the productions of 
the Hills and the Murphys and the Browns, — and shall he have 
that honour to dwell in our minds for ever as an inseparable con- 
comitant with Shakspeare ? A kindred mind ! O who can read 
that affecting sonnet of Shakspeare which alludes to his profession 
as a player : — 

Oh for my sake do you with Fortune chide, 

The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds, 

That did not better for my life provide 

Than public means which public custom [manners] breeds — 

Thence comes it that my name receives a brand ; 

And almost thence my nature is subdued 

To what it works in, like the dyer's hand — 

Or that other confession : — 

Alas ! 'tis true, I have gone here and there, 

And made myself a motly to thy view, 

Gor'd mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear — 



ON THE TRAGEDIES OF SHAKSPEARE 105 

Who can read these instances of jealous self- watchfulness in our 
sweet Shakspeare, and dream of any congeniality between him and 
one that, by every tradition of him, appears to have been as mere a 
player as ever existed ; to have had his mind tainted with the lowest 
players' vices, — envy and jealousy, and miserable cravings after ap- 
plause ; one who in the exercise of his profession was jealous even 
of the women-performers that stood in his way ; a manager full of 
managerial tricks and stratagems and finesse : that any resemblance 
should be dreamed of between him and Shakspeare, — Shakspeare 
who, in the plenitude and consciousness of his own powers, could 
with that noble modesty, which we can neither imitate nor ap- 
preciate, express himself thus of his own sense of his own defects : — 

Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, 
Featur'd like him, like him with friends possest ; 
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope. 

I am almost disposed to deny to Garrick the merit of being an 
admirer of Shakspeare. A true lover of his excellencies he cer- 
tainly was not ; for would any true lover of them have admitted 
into his matchless scenes such ribald trash as Tate and Gibber, and 
the rest of them, that 

With their darkness durst affront his light, 

have foisted into the acting plays of Shakspeare ? I believe it 
impossible that he could have had a proper reverence for Shak- 
speare, and have condescended to go through that interpolated scene 
in Richard the Third, in which Richard tries to break his wife's 
heart by telling her he loves another woman, and says, " if she 
survives this she is immortal." Yet I doubt not he delivered this 
vulgar stuff with as much anxiety of emphasis as any of the genuine 
parts ; and for acting, it is as well calculated as any. But we have 
seen the part of Richard lately produce great fame to an actor by 
his manner of playing it, and it lets us into the secret of acting, 
and of popular j udgments of Shakspeare derived from acting. Not 
one of the spectators who have witnessed Mr. C.'s exertions in that 
part, but has come away with a proper conviction that Richard is a 
very wicked man, and kills little children in their beds, with some- 
thing like the pleasure which the giants and ogres in children's 
books are represented to have taken in that practice ; moreover, 
that he is very close and shrewd and devilish cunning, for you 
could see that by his eye. 

But is in fact this the impression we have in reading the Richard 
of Shakspeare ? Do we feel any thing like disgust, as we do at 
that butcher-like representation of him that passes for him on the 
stage .'' A horror at his crimes blends with the effect which we 



106 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

feel, but how is it qualified, how is it carried ofF, by the rich 
intellect which he displays, his resources, his wit, his buoyant 
spirits, his vast knowledge and insight into characters, the poetry 
of his part, — not an atom of all which is made perceivable in Mr. 
C.'s way of acting it. Nothing but his crimes, his actions, is 
visible ; they are prominent and staring ; the murderer stands out, 
but where is the lofty genius, the man of vast capacity, — the pro- 
found, the witty, accomplished Richard ? 

The truth is, the Characters of Shakspeare are so much the 
objects of meditation rather than of interest or curiosity as to their 
actions, that while we are reading any of his great criminal char- 
acters, — Macbeth, Richard, even lago, — we think not so much of the 
crimes which they commit, as of the ambition, the aspiring spirit, 
the intellectual activity, which prompts them to overleap those 
moral fences. Barnwell is a wretched murderer ; there is a certain 
fitness between his neck and the rope ; he is the legitimate heir to 
the gallows ; nobody who thinks at all can think of any alleviating 
circumstances in his case to make him a fit object of mercy. Or to 
take an instance from the higher tragedy, what else but a mere 
assassin is Glenalvon ! Do we think of any thing but of the crime 
which he commits, and the rack which he deserves .'' That is all 
which we really think about him. Whereas in corresponding 
characters in Shakspeare so little do the actions comparatively 
affect us, that while the impulses, the inner mind in all its 
perverted greatness, solely seems real and is exclusively attended 
to, the crime is comparatively nothing. But when we see these 
things represented, the acts which they do are comparatively 
every thing, their impulses nothing. The state of sublime emotion 
into which we are elevated by those images of night and horror 
which Macbeth is made to utter, that solemn prelude with which 
he entertains the time till the bell shall strike which is to call 
him to murder Duncan, — when we no longer read it in a book, 
when we have given up that vantage-ground of abstraction which 
reading possesses over seeing, and come to see a man in his bodily 
shape before our eyes actually preparing to commit a murder, if 
the acting be true and impressive, as I have witnessed it in Mr. 
K.'s performance of that part, the painful anxiety about the 
act, the natural longing to prevent it while it yet seems unper- 
petrated, the too close pressing semblance of reality, give a pain 
and an uneasiness which totally destroy all the delight which the 
words in the book convey, where the deed doing never presses upon 
us with the painful sense of presence : it rather seems to belong to 
history, — to something past and inevitable, if it has any thing to 
do with time at all. The sublime images, the poetry alone, is that 
which is present to our minds in the reading. 



ON THE TRAGEDIES OF SHAKSPEAEE 107 

So to see Lear acted, — to see an old man tottering about the stage 
with a walking-stick, turned out of doors by his daughters in a 
rainy night, has nothing in it but what is painful and disgusting. 
We want to take him into shelter and relieve him. That is all the 
feeling which the acting of Lear ever produced in me. But the 
Lear of Shakspeare cannot be acted. The contemptible machinery 
by which they mimic the storm which he goes out in, is not more 
inadequate to represent the horrors of the real elements, than any 
actor can be to represent Lear : they might more easily propose to 
personate the Satan of Milton upon a stage, or one of Michael 
Angelo's terrible figures. The greatness of Lear is not in corporal 
dimension, but in intellectual: the explosions of his passion are 
terrible as a volcano : they are storms turning up and disclosing to 
the bottom that sea, his mind, with all its vast riches. It is his 
mind which is laid bare. This case of flesh and blood seems too 
insignificant to be thought on ; even as he himself neglects it. On 
the stage we see nothing but corporal infirmities and weakness, the 
impotence of rage ; while we read it, we see not Lear, but we are 
Lear, — we are in his mind, we are sustained by a grandeur which 
baffles the malice of daughters and storms ; in the aberrations of 
his reason, we discover a mighty irregular power of reasoning, im- 
methodized from the ordinary purposes of life, but exerting its 
powers, as the wind blows where it listeth, at will upon the cor- 
ruptions and abuses of mankind. What have looks, or tones, to do 
with that sublime identification of his age with that of the heavens 
themselves, when in his reproaches to them for conniving at the 
injustice of his children, he reminds them that " they themselves are 
old." What gesture shall we appropriate to this ? What has the 
voice or the eye to do with such things .'' But the play is beyond 
all art, as the tamperings with it shew : it is too hard and stony ; 
it must have love-scenes, and a happy ending. It is not enough 
that Cordelia is a daughter, she must shine as a lover too. Tate has 
put his hook in the nostrils of this Leviathan, for Garrick and his 
followers, the showmen of the scene, to draw the mighty beast about 
more easily. A happy ending ! — as if the living martyrdom that 
Lear had gone through, — the flaying of his feelings alive, did not 
make a fair dismissal from the stage of life the only decorous thing 
for him. If he is to live and be happy after, if he could sustain 
this world's burden after, why all this pudder and preparation, — 
why torment us with all this unnecessary sympathy? As if the 
childish pleasure of getting his gilt robes and sceptre again could 
tempt him to act over again his misused station, — as if at his years, 
and with his experience, any thing was left but to die. 

Lear is essentially impossible to be represented on a stage. 
But how many dramatic personages are there in Shakspeare, which 



108 MISCELLANEOUS PKOSE, 1798-1834 

though more tractable and feasible (if I may so speak) than Lear, 
yet from some circumstance, some adjunct to their character, are 
improper to be shewn to our bodily eye. Othello for instance. 
Nothing can be more soothing, more flattering to the nobler parts 
of our natures, than to read of a young Venetian lady of Jiighest 
extraction, through the force of love and from a sense of merit m 
him whom she loved, laying aside every consideration of kindred, 
and country, and colour, and wedding with a coal-black Moor — 
(for such he is represented, in the imperfect state of knowledge 
respecting foreign countries in those days, compared with our own, 
or in compliance with popular notions, though the Moors are now 
well enough known to be by many shades less unworthy of a white 
woman's fancy) — it is the perfect triumph of virtue over accidents, 
of the imagination over the senses. She sees Othello's colour in his 
mind. But upon the stage, when the imagination is no longer the 
ruling faculty, but we are left to our poor unassisted senses, I 
appeal to every one that has seen Othello played, whether he did 
not, on the contrary, sink Othello's mind in his colour ; whether he 
did not find something extremely revolting in the courtship and 
wedded caresses of Othello and Desdemona ; and whether the actual 
sight of the thing did not over-weigh all that beautiful compromise 
which we make in reading ; — and the reason it should do so is 
obvious, because there is just so much reality presented to our 
senses as to give a perception of disagreement, with not enough 
of belief in the internal motives, — all that which is unseen, — to 
overpower and reconcile the first and obvious prejudices. ^ What 
we see upon a stage is body and bodily action ; what we are 
conscious of in reading is almosb exclusively the mind, and its 
movements : and this I think may sufficiently account for the 
very different sort of delight with which the same play so often 
affects us in the reading and the seeing. 

It requires little reflection to perceive, that if those characters in 
Shakspeare which are within the precincts of nature, have yet some- 
thing in them which appeals too exclusively to the imagination, to 
admit of their being made objects to the senses without suffering a 
change and a diminution, — that still stronger the objection must lie 
against representing another line of characters, which Shakspeare 

1 The error of supposing that because Othello's colour does not offend us in the 
reading, it should also not offend us in the seeing, is just such a fallacy as supposing 
that an Adam and Eve in a picture shall affect us just as they do in the poem. But 
in the poem we for a while have Paradisaical senses given us, which vanish when 
we see a man and his wife without clothes in the picture. The painters themselves 
feel this, as is apparent by the aukward shifts they have recourse to, to make them 
look not quite naked ; by a sort of prophetic anachronism, antedating the invention ot 
fig-leaves. So in the reading of the play, we see with Desdemona's eyes ; in the 
seeing of it, we are forced to look with our own. 



ON THE TEAGEDIES OF SHAKSPEAEE 109 

has introduced to give a wildness and a supernatural elevation to 
his scenes, as if to remove them still farther from that assimilation 
to common life in which their excellence is vulgarly supposed to 
consist. When we read the incantations of those terrible beings 
the Witches in Macbeth, though some of the ingredients of their 
hellish composition savour of the grotesque, yet is the effect upon 
us other than the most serious and appalling that can be imagined ? 
Do we not feel spell-bound as Macbeth was? Can any mirth 
accompany a sense of their presence ? We might as well laugh 
under a consciousness of the principle of Evil himself being truly 
and really present with us. But attempt to bring these beings 
on to a stage, and you turn them instantly into so many old 
women, that men and children are to laugh at. Contrary to bhe 
old saying, that " seeing is believing," the sight actually destroys 
the faith; and the mirth in which we indulge at their expense, 
when we see these creatures upon a stage, seems to be a sort of 
indemnification which we make to ourselves for the terror which 
they put us in when reading made them an object of belief, — when 
we surrendered up our reason to the poet, as children to their 
nurses and their elders ; and we laugh at our fears, as children who 
thought they saw something in the dark, triumph when the bring- 
ing in of a candle discovers the vanity of their fears. For this 
exposure of supernatural agents upon a stage is truly bringing in a 
candle to expose their own delusiveness. It is the solitary taper 
and the book that generates a faith in these terrors : a ghost by 
chandelier light, and in good company, deceives no spectators, — a 
ghost that can be measured by the eye, and his human dimensions 
made out at leisure. The sight of a well-lighted house, and a well- 
dressed audience, shall arm the most nervous child against any 
apprehensions : as Tom Brown says of the impenetrable skin of 
Achilles with his impenetrable armour over it, " Bully Dawson 
would have fought the devil with such advantages." 

Much has been said, and deservedly, in reprobation of the vile 
mixture which Dry den has thrown into the Tempest : doubtless 
without some such vicious alloy, the impure ears of that age would 
never have sate out to hear so much innocence of love as is contained 
in the sweet courtship of Ferdinand and Miranda. But is the 
Tempest of Shakspeare at all a subject for stage representa- 
tion ? It is one thing to read of an enchanter, and to believe the 
wondrous tale while we are reading it ; but to have a conjuror 
brought before us in his conjuring-gown, with his spirits about him, 
which none but himself and some hundred of favoured spectators 
before the curtain are supposed to see, involves such a quantity of 
the hateful incredible, that all our reverence for the author cannot 
hinder us from perceiving such gross attempts upon the senses to be 



no MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

in the highest degree childish and inefficient. Spirits and fairies 
cannot be represented, they cannot even be painted, — they can only 
be believed. But the elaborate and anxious provision of scenery, 
which the luxury of the age demands, in these cases works a quite 
contrary eifect to what is intended. That which in comedy, or plays 
of familiar life, adds so much to the life of the imitation, in plays 
which appeal to the higher faculties, positively destroys the illusion 
which it is introduced to aid. A parlour or a drawing-room, — 
a library opening into a garden, — a garden with an alcove in it, — a 
street, or the piazza of Covent-garden, does well enough in a scene ; 
we are content to give as much credit to it as it demands ; or rather, 
we think little about it, — it is little more than reading at the top 
of a page, " Scene, a Garden ; " we do not imagine ourselves there, 
but we readily admit the imitation of familiar objects. But to 
think by the help of painted trees and caverns, which we know to 
be painted, to transport our minds to Prospero, and his island and 
his lonely cell ; ^ or by the aid of a fiddle dexterously thrown in, in 
an interval of speaking, to make us believe that we hear those super- 
natural noises of which the isle was full : — the Orrery Lecturer at the 
Haymarket might as well hope, by his musical glasses cleverly 
stationed out of sight behind his apparatus, to make us believe that 
we do indeed hear the chrystal spheres ring out that chime, which 
if it were to inwrap our fancy long, Milton thinks. 

Time would run back and fetch the age of gold, 

And speckled vanity 

Would sicken soon and die, 

And leprous Sin would melt from earthly mould ; 

Yea Hell itself would pass away. 

And leave its dolorous mansions to the peering day. 

The Garden of Eden, with our first parents in it, is not more im- 
possible to be shewn on a stage, than the Enchanted Isle, with its 
no less interesting and innocent first settlers. 

The subject of Scenery is closely connected with that of the Dresses, 
which are so anxiously attended to on our stage. I remember the 
last time I saw Macbeth played, the discrepancy I felt at the 
changes of garment which he varied, — the shiftings and re-shiftings, 
like a Romish priest at mass. The luxury of stage-improvements, 
and the importunity of the public eye, require this. The coronation 
robe of the Scottish monarch was fairly a counterpart to that which 
our King wears when he goes to the Parliament-house, — ^just so full 
and cumbersome, and set out with ermine and pearls. And if 

1 It will be said these things are done in pictures. But pictures and scenes are- 
very different things. Painting is a world of itself, but in scene-painting there is the 
attempt to deceive ; and there is the discordancy, never to be got over, bAweert. 
painted scenes and real people. 



ON THE TRAGEDIES OF SHAKSPEAEE 111 

things must be represented, I see not what to find fault with in 
this. But in reading, what robe are we conscious of? Some dim 
images of royalty — a crown and sceptre, may float before our eyes, 
but who shall describe the fashion of it ? Do we see in our mind's 
eye what Webb or any other robe-maker could pattern ? This is 
the inevitable consequence of imitating every thing, to make all 
things natural. Whereas the reading of a, tragedy is a fine abstrac- 
tion. It presents to the fancy just so much of external appearances 
as to make us feel that we are among flesh and blood, while by far 
the greater and better part of our imagination is employed upon 
the thoughts and internal machinery of the character. But in 
acting, scenery, dress, the most contemptible things, call upon us 
to judge of their naturalness. 

Perhaps it would be no bad similitude, to liken the pleasure which 
we take" in seeing one of these fine plays acted, compared with that 
quiet delight which we find in the reading of it, to the different 
feelings with which a reviewer, and a man that is not a reviewer, 
reads a fine poem. The accursed critical habit, — the being called 
upon to judge and pronounce, must make it quite a different thing 
to the former. In seeing these plays acted, we are affected just as 
judges. When Hamlet compares the two pictures of Gertrude's 
first and second husband, who wants to see the pictures ? But in 
the acting, a miniature must be lugged out ; which we know not to 
be the picture, but only to shew how finely a miniature may be 
represented. This shewing of every thing, levels all things : it 
makes tricks, bows, and curtesies, of importance. Mrs. S. 
never got more fame by any thing than by the manner in which 
she dismisses the guests in the banquet-scene in Macbeth : it is 
as much remembered as any of her thrilling tones or impressive 
looks. But does such a trifle as this enter into the imagina- 
tions of the readers of that wild and wonderful scene .'' Does not 
the mind dismiss the feasters as rapidly as it can ? Does it care 
about the gracefulness of the doing it ? But by acting, and judging 
of acting, all these non-essentials are raised into an importance, 
injurious to the main interest of the play. 

I have confined my observations to the tragic parts of Shakspeare. 
It would be no very difficult task to extend the enquiry to his 
comedies ; and to shew why FalstafF, Shallow, Sir Hugh Evans, and 
the rest, are equally incompatible with stage representation. The 
length to which this Essay has run, will make it, I am afraid, 
sufficiently distasteful to the Amateurs of the Theatre, without 
going any deeper into the subject at present. 



112 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

SPECIMENS FROM THE WRITINGS OF FULLER, THE 
CHURCH HISTORIAN 

(1811. Text of 1818) 

THE writings of Fuller are usually designated by the title of 
quaint, and with sufficient reason ; for such was his natural 
bias to conceits, that I doubt not upon most occasions it would 
have been going out of his way to have expressed himself out of 
them. But his wit is not always a Iv/men siccum, a dry faculty of 
surprising ; on the contrary, his conceits are oftentimes deeply 
steeped in human feeling and passion. Above all, his way of telling 
a story, for its eager liveliness, and the perpetual running comment- 
ary of the narrator happily blended with the narration, is perhaps 
unequalled. 

As his works are now scarcely perused but by antiquaries, I 
thought it might not be unacceptable to my readers to present 
them with some specimens of his manner, in single thoughts and 
phrases ; and in some few passages of greater length, chiefly of a 
narrative description. I shall arrange them as I casually find them 
in my book of extracts, without being solicitous to specify the par- 
ticular work from which they are taken. 

Pyramids. — " The Pyramids themselves, doting with age, have 
forgotten the names of their founders." 

Virtue in a short person. — " His soul had but a short diocese 
to visit, and therefore might the better attend the effectual inform- 
ing thereof." 

Intellect in a very tall one. — "Oft times such who are built 
four stories high, are observed to have little in their cock-loft." 

Naturals. — " Their heads sometimes so little, that there is no 
room for wit ; sometimes so long, that there is no wit for so much 
room." 

Negroes. — " The image of God cut in ebony." 

School-divinity. — " At the first it will be as welcome to thee as 
a prison, and their very solutions will seem knots unto thee." 

Mr. Perkins, the Divine. — " He had a capacious head, with 
angles winding and roomy enough to lodge all controversial 
intricacies." 

The same. — " He would pronounce the word Damn with such 
an emphasis as left a doleful echo in his auditors' ears a good while 
after." 

Judges in capital cases. — " O let him take heed how he strikes, 
that hath a dead hand." 

Memory. — " Philosophers place it in the rear of the head, and it 



THE WRITINGS OF FULLER 113 

seems the mine of memory lies there, because there men naturally 
dig for it, scratching it when they are at a loss." 

Fancy. — " It is the most boundless and restless faculty of the 
soul ; for while the Understanding and the Will are kept, as it were, 
in libera custodia to their objects of verum et bonum, the Fancy 
is free from all engagements : it digs without spade, sails without 
ship, flies without wings, builds without charges, fights without 
bloodshed ; in a moment striding from the centre to the circum- 
ference of the world ; by a kind of omnipotency creating and 
annihilating things in an instant ; and things divorced in Nature 
are married in Fancy as in a lawless place." 

Infants. — " Some, admiring what motives to mirth infants meet 
with in their silent and solitary smiles, have resolved, how truly 
I know not, that then they converse with angels ; as indeed such 
cannot among mortals find any fitter companions." 

Music. — " Such is the sociableness of music, it conforms itself to 
all companies both in mirth and mourning ; complying to improve 
that passion with which it finds the auditors most affected. In a 
word, it is an invention which might have beseemed a son of Seth 
to have been the father thereof : though better it was that Cain's 
great grandchild should have the credit first to find it, than the 
world the unhappiness longer to have wanted it." 

St. Monica. — " Drawing near her death, she sent most pious 
thoughts as harbingers to heaven, and her soul saw a glimpse of 
happiness through the chinks of her sickness-broken body." ^ 

Mortality. — " To smell to a turf of fresh earth is wholesome for 
the body, no less are thoughts of mortality cordial to the soul." 

Virgin. — " No lordling husband shall at the same time command 
her presence and distance ; to be always near in constant attendance, 
and always to stand aloof in awful observance." 

Elder Brother. — " Is one who made haste to come into the world 
to bring his parents the first news of male posterity, and is well 
rewarded for his tidings." 

Bishop Fletcher.- — " His pride was rather on him than in him, as 
only gait and gesture deep, not sinking to his heart, though cause- 
lessly condemned for a proud man, as who was a good hypocrite, 
and far more humble than he appeared." 

Masters of Colleges. — " A little alloy of dulness in a Master of a 
College makes him fitter to manage secular affairs." 

The Good Yeoman. — " Is a gentleman in ore, whom the next 
age may see refined." 

Good Parent. — " For his love, therein, like a well drawn picture, 
he eyes all his children alike." 

' The soul's dark cottage, batter'd and decay'd, 
Lets in new lights through chinks which time has made. — Waller. 

VOL. I. — 8 



114 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

Deformity in Children. — "This partiality is tyranny, when 
parents despise those that are deformed ; enough to break those 
whom God had bowed before." 

Good Master. — " In correcting his servant he becomes not a 
slave to his own passion. Not cruelly making new indentures of 
the flesh of his apprentice. He is tender of his servant in sickness 
and age. If crippled in his service, his house is his hospital. Yet 
how many throw away those dry bones, out of the which themselves 
have sucked the marrow ! " 

Good Widow. — " If she can speak but little good of him [her 
dead husband] she speaks but little of him. So handsomely fold- 
ing up her discourse, that his virtues are shewn outwards, and his 
vices wrapped up in silence ; as counting it barbarism to throw dirt 
on his memory who hath moulds cast on his body." 

Horses. — " These are men's wings, wherewith they make such 
speed. A generous creature a horse is, sensible in some sort of 
honour ; and made most handsome by that which deforms men 
most — pride." 

Martyrdom. — " Heart of oak hath sometime warped a little in 
the scorching heat of persecution. Their want of true courage 
herein cannot be excused. Yet many censure them for surrendering 
up their forts after a long siege, who would have yielded up their 
own at the first summons. Oh ! there is more required to make one 
valiant, than to call Cranmer or Jewel coward ; as if the fire in 
Smithfield had been no hotter than what is painted in the Book of 
Martyrs." 

Text of St. Paul. — " St. Paul saith, let not the sun go down 
on your wrath, to carry news to the antipodes in another world 
of thy revengeful nature. Yet let us take the Apostle's meaning 
rather than his words, with all possible speed to depose our passion ; 
not understanding him so literally, that we may take leave to be 
angry till sunset : then might our wrath lengthen with the days ; 
and men in Greenland, where the day lasts above a quarter of a 
year, have plentiful scope for revenge." ^ 

Bishop Brownrig. — ■" He carried learning enough in num,erato 
about him in his pockets for any discourse, and had much more at 
home in his chests for any serious dispute." 

Modest Want. — " Those that with diligence fight against 
poverty, though neither conquer till death makes it a drawn battle ; 
expect not but prevent their craving of thee : for God forbid the 

^ This whimsical prevention of a consequence which no one would have thought 
of deducing, — setting up an absurdum on purpose to hunt it down, — placing guards 
as it were at the very outposts of possibility, — gravely giving out laws to insanity and 
prescribing moral fences to distempered intellects, could never have entered into a 
head less entertainingly constructed than that of Fuller, or Sir Thomas Browne, the 
very air of whose style the conclusion of this passage most aptly imitates. 



THE WRITINGS OF FULLER 115 

heavens should never rain, till the earth first opens her mouth ; 
seeing some grounds will sooner burn than chap." 

Death-bed Temptations. — " The devil is most busy on the last 
day of his term ; and a tenant to be outed cares not what mischief 
he doth." 

Conversation. — " Seeing we are civilized Englishmen, let us not 
be naked savages in our talk." 

Wounded Soldier. — "Halting is the stateliest march of a 
soldier ; and 'tis a brave sight to see the flesh of an ancient as torn 
as his colours." 

Wat Tyler. — " A misogrammatist ; if a good Greek word may 
be given to so barbarous a rebel." 

Heralds. — " Heralds new mould men's names, — taking from 
them, adding to them, melting out all the liquid letters, torturing 
mutes to make them speak, and making vowels dumb, — to bring it 
to a fallacious homonomy at the last, that their names may be the 
same with those noble houses they pretend to." 

Antiquarian Diligence. — "It is most worthy observation, with 
what diligence he [Camden] enquired after ancient places, making 
hue and cry after many a city which was run away, and by certain 
marks and tokens pursuing to find it ; as by the situation on the 
Roman highways, by just distance from other ancient cities, by 
some aflinity of name, by tradition of the inhabitants, by Roman 
coins digged up, and by some appearance of ruins. A broken urn 
is a whole evidence ; or an old gate still surviving, out of which the 
city is run out. Besides, commonly some new spruce town not far 
ofF is grown out of the ashes thereof, which yet hath so much natural 
affection as dutifully to own those reverend ruins for her mother." 

Henry de Essex. — " He is too well known in our English 
Chronicles, being Baron of Raleigh, in Essex, and Hereditary 
Standard Bearer of England. It happened in the reign of this 
king [Henry II.] there was a fierce battle fought in Flintshire, at 
Coleshall, between the English and Welsh, wherein this Henry de 
Essex animum et signum simul abjecit, betwixt traitor and 
coward, cast away both his courage and banner together, occasion- 
ing a great overthrow of English. But he that had the baseness 
to do, had the boldness to deny the doing of so| foul a fact ; until 
he was challenged in combat by Robert de Momford, a knight, 
eye-witness thereof, and by him overcome in a duel. Whereupon 
his large inheritance was confiscated to the king, and he himself, 
partly thrust, partly going into a convent, hid his head in a 
cowl, under which, betwixt shame and sanctity, he blushed out 
the remainder of his life." ^ — Worthies. Article, Bedfordshire. 

^ The fine imagination of Fuller has done what might have been pronounced im- 
possible : it has given an interest, and a holy character, to coward infamy. Nothing 



116 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

Sir Edward Harwood, Knt. — "I have read of a bird, which 
hath a face like, and yet wilJ prey upon, a man ; who coming to 
the water to drink, and finding there by reflection, that he had 
kilJed one like himself, pineth away by degrees, and never after- 
wards enjoyeth itself.^ Such is in some sort the condition of Sir 
Edward. This accident, that he had killed one in a private 
quarrel, put a period to his carnal mirth, and was a covering to 
his eyes all the days of his life. No possible provocations could 
afterwards tempt him to a duel ; and no wonder that one's con- 
science loathed that whereof he had surfeited. He refused all 
challenges with more honour than others accepted them ; it being 
well known, that he would set his foot as far in the face of his enemy 
as any man alive." — Worthies. Art. Lincolnshire. 

Decayed Gentry. — " It happened in the reign of King James, 
when Henry Earl of Huntingdon was Lieutenant of Leicestershire, 
that a labourer's son in that county was pressed into the wars ; as I 
take it, to go over with Count Mansfield. The old man at Leicester 
requested his son might be discharged, as being the only staff of 
his age, who by his industry maintained him and his mother. The 
Earl demanded his name, which the man for a long time was loth 
to tell (as suspecting it a fault for so poor a man to confess the 
truth), at last he told his name was Hastings. ' Cousin Hastings,' 
said the Earl, ' we cannot all be top branches of the tree, though 
we all spring from the same root ; your son, my kinsman, shall not 
be pressed.' So good was the meeting of modesty in a poor, with 
courtesy in an honourable person, and gentry I believe in both. 

can be more beautiful than the concluding account of the last days, and expiatory 
retirement, of poor Henry de Essex. The address with which the whole of this 
little story is told is most consummate : the charm of it seems to consist in a 
perpetual balance of antitheses not too violently opposed, and the consequent 
activity of mind in which the reader is kept : — " Betwixt traitor and coward "- — 
" baseness to do, boldness to deny " — " partly thrust, partly going, into a convent " 
— " betwixt shame and sanctity." The reader by this artifice is taken into a kind of 
partnership with the writer, — his judgment is exercised in settling the preponder- 
ance, — he feels as if he were consulted as to the issue. But the modern historian 
flings at once the dead weight of his own judgment into the scale, and settles the 
matter. 

^ I do not know where Fuller read of this bird ; but a more awful and affecting 
story, and moralizing of a story, in Natural History, or rather in that Fabulous 
Natural History, where poets and mythologists found the Phoenix and the Unicorn^ 
and " other strange fowl," is no where extant. It is a fable which Sir Thomas 
Browne, if he had heard of it, would have exploded among his Vulgar Errors ; but 
the delight which he would have taken in the discussing of its probabilities, would 
have shewn that the truth of the fact, though the avowed object of his search, was 
not so much the motive which put him upon the investigation, as those hidden 
affinities and poetical analogies,— those essential verities in the application of 
strange fable, which made him linger with such reluctant delay among the last 
fading lights of popular tradition ; and not seldom to conjure up a superstition, that 
had been long extinct, from its dusty grave, to inter it himself with greater cere- 
monies and solemnities of burial. 



THE WEITINGS OF FULLER 117 

And I have reason to believe, that some who justly own the sur- 
names and blood of Bohuns, Mortimers, and Plantagenets (though 
ignorant of their own extractions), are hid in the heap of common 
people, where they find that under a thatched cottage, which some 
of their ancestors could not enjoy in a leaded castle, — contentment, 
with quiet and security." — Worthies. Art. Of Shire-Reeves or 
Shiriffes. 

Tenderness of Conscience in a Tradesman. — " Thomas Cur- 
son, born in Allhallows, Lombard-street, armourer, dwelt without 
Bishopsgate. It happened that a stage-player borrowed a rusty 
musket, which had lain long leger in his shop : now though his 
part were comical, he therewith acted an unexpected tragedy, 
killing one of the standers by, the gun casually going off on the 
stage, which he suspected not to be charged. O the difference of 
divers men in the tenderness of their consciences ; some are scarce 
touched with a wound, whilst others are wounded with a touch 
therein. This poor armourer was highly afflicted therewith, though 
done against his will, yea without his knowledge, in his absence, 
by another, out of mere chance. Hereupon he resolved to give all 
his estate to pious uses : no sooner had he gotten a round sum, 
but presently he posted with it in his apron to the Court of Alder- 
men, and was in pain till by their direction he had settled it for 
the relief of poor in his own and other parishes, and disposed 
of some hundreds of pounds accordingly, as I am credibly in- 
formed by the then churchwardens of the said parish. Thus as 
he conceived himself casually (though at a great distance) to have 
occasioned the death of one, he was the immediate and direct cause 
of giving a comfortable living to many." 

Burning of Wickliffe's Body by Order of the Council of Con- 
stance. — ■" Hitherto [a.d. 1428] the corpse of John Wickliffe had 
quietly slept in his grave about forty-one years after his death, till 
his body was reduced to bones, and his bones almost to dust. For 
though the earth in the chancel of Lutterworth, in Leicestershire, 
where he was interred, hath not so quick a digestion with the earth 
of Aceldama, to consume flesh in twenty-four hours, yet such the 
appetite thereof, and all other English graves, to leave small 
reversions of a body after so many years. But now such the spleen 
of the Council of Constance, as they not only cursed his memory as 
dying an obstinate heretic, but ordered that his bones (with this 
charitable caution, — if it may be discerned from the bodies of other 
faithful people) to be taken out of the ground, and thrown far off 
from any Christian burial. In obedience hereunto. Rich. Flem- 
ing, Bishop of Lincoln, Diocesan of Lutterworth, sent his officers 
(vultures with a quick sight, scent, at a dead carcase) to ungrave 
him. Accordingly to Lutterworth they come, Sumner, Commissary, 



118 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

Official, Chancellor, Proctors, Doctors, and their servants (so that 
the remnant of the body would not hold out a bone amongst so 
many hands), take what was left out of the grave, and burnt them 
to ashes, and cast them into Swift, a neighbouring brook, running 
hard by. Thus this brook has conveyed his ashes into Avon, 
Avon into Severn, Severn into the narrow seas, they into the 
main ocean ,• and thus the ashes of Wickliffe are the emblem of 
his doctrine, which now is dispersed all the world over." ^ — 
Church History 



EDAX ON APPETITE 

(1811. Text of 1818) 

To the Editor of the Reflector 

MR. REFLECTOR, — I am going to lay before you a case 
of the most iniquitous persecution that ever poor devil 
suffered. 

You must know, then, that I have been visited with a calamity 
ever since my birth. How shall 1 mention it without offending 

1 The concluding period of this most lively narrative I will not call a conceit : it 
is one of the grandest conceptions I ever met with. One feels the ashes of Wickliffe 
gliding away out of the reach of the Sumners, Commissaries, Officials, Proctors, 
Doctors, and all the puddering rout of executioners of the impotent rage of the 
baffled Council : from Swift into Avon, from Avon into Severn, from Severn into 
the narrow seas, from the narrow seas into the main ocean, where they become the 
emblem of his doctrine, " dispersed all the world over." Hamlet's tracing the body 
of Caesar to the clay that stops a beer-barrel, is a no less curious pursuit of " ruined 
mortality ; " but it is in an inverse ratio to this : it degrades and saddens us, for one 
part of our nature at least ; but this expands the whole of our nature, and gives to 
the body a sort of ubiquity, — a diffusion, as far as the actions of its partner can have 
reach or influence. 

I have seen this passage smiled at, and set down as a quaint conceit of old Fuller. 
But what is not a conceit to those who read it in a temper different from that in 
which the writer composed it ? The most pathetic parts of poetry to cold tem- 
pers seem and are nonsense, as divinity was to the Greeks foolishness. When 
Richard II., meditating on his own utter annihilation as to royalty, cries out, 

" O that I were a mockery king of snow. 

To melt before the sun of Bolingbroke," 
if we have been going on pace for pace with the passion before, this sudden con- 
version of a strong-felt metaphor into something to be actually realized in nature, 
like that of Jeremiah, " Oh 1 that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain 
of tears," is strictly and strikingly natural ; but come unprepared upon it, and it is 
a, conceit ; and so is a " head " turned into " waters." 



ED AX ON APPETITE 119 

delicacy ? Yet out it must. My sufferings then havei' all arisen 

from a most inordinate appetite 

Not for wealth, not for vast possessions, — then might I have 
hoped to find a cure in some of those precepts of philosophers or 
poets, — those verba et voces which Horace speaks of 

" quibus hunc lenire dolorem 
Possis, et magnam morbi deponere partem ; " 

not for glory, not for fame, not for applause, — for against this 
disease, too, he tells us there are certain piacula, or, as Pope has 
chosen to render it, 

" rhymes, which fresh and fresh applied, 
Will cure the arrant'st puppy of his pride ; " 

nor yet for pleasure, properly so called : the strict and virtuous 
lessons which I received in early life from the best of parents, — a 
pious clergyman of the Church of England, now no more, — I trust 
have rendered me sufficiently secure on that side : 

No, Sir, for none of these things ; but an appetite, in its coarsest 
and least metaphorical sense, — an appetite for food. 

The exorbitances of my arrow-root and pap-dish days I cannot 
go back far enough to remember, only I have been told, that my 
mother's constitution not admitting of my being nursed at home, 
the woman who had the care of me for that piu-pose used to make 
most extravagant demands for my pretended excesses in that kind ; 
which my parents, rather than believe any thing unpleasant of me, 
chose to impute to the known covetousness and mercenary disposi- 
tion of that sort of people. This blindness continued on their part 
after I was sent for home, up to the period when it was thought 
proper, on account of my advanced age, that I should mix with 
other boys more unreservedly than I had hitherto done. I was 
accordingly sent to boarding-school. 

Here the melancholy truth became too apparent to be disguised. 
The prying republic of which a great school consists, soon found me 
out : there was no shifting the blame any longer upon other people's 
shoulders, — no good-natured maid to take upon herself the enor- 
mities of which I stood accused in the article of bread and butter, 
besides the crying sin of stolen ends of puddings, and cold pies 
strangely missing. The truth was but too manifest in my looks, — 
in the evident signs of inanition which I exhibited after the fullest 
meals, in spite of the double allowance which my master was pri- 
vately instructed by my kind parents to give me. The sense of the 
ridiculous, which is but too much alive in grown persons, is tenfold 
more active and alert in boys. Once detected, I was the constant 
butt of their arrows, — the mark against which every puny leveller 



120 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

directed his little shaft of scorn. The very Graduses and Thesau- 
ruses were raked for phrases to pelt me with by the tiny pedants. 
Ventri natus, — Ventri deditus, — Vesana gula, — Escarum gurges, — 
Dapibus indulgens,— Non dans froena gulae, — Sectans lautse fercula 
mensae, resounded wheresoever I past. I lead a weary lite, 
suffering the penalties of guilt for that which was no crime, but 
only following the blameless dictates of nature. The remem- 
brance of those childish reproaches haunts me yet oftentimes in my 
dreams. My school-days come again, and the horror I used to feel, 
when in some silent corner retired from the notice of my unfeeling 
playfellows, I have sat to mumble the solitary slice of gingerbread 
allotted me by the bounty of considerate friends, and have ached at 
heart because I coujd not spare a portion of it, as I saw other boys 
do, to some favourite boy ; — for if I know my own heart, I was 
never selfish, — never possessed a luxury which I did not hasten to 
communicate to others ; but my food, alas ! weis none ; it was an 
indispensable necessary ; I could as soon have spared the blood in 
my veins, as have parted that with my companions. 

Well, no one stage of suffering lasts for ever : we should grow 
reconciled to it at length, I suppose, if it did. The miseries of 
my school-days had their end ; I was once more restored to the 
paternal dwelling. The affectionate solicitude of my parents was 
directed to the good-natured purpose of concealing even from my- 
self the infirmity which haunted me. I was continually told that 
I was growing, and the appetite I displayed was humanely repre- 
sented as being nothing more than a symptom and an effect of 
that. I used even to be complimented upon it. But this tem- 
porary fiction could not endure above a year or two. I ceased 
to grow, but alas ! I did not cease my demands for alimentary sus- 
tenance. 

Those times are long since past, and with them have ceased to 
exist the fond concealment, — the indulgent blindness, — the delicate 
over-looking, — the compassionate fiction. I and my infirmity are 
left exposed and bare to the broad, unwinking eye of the world, 
which nothing can elude. My meals are scanned, my mouthfuls 
weighed in a balance : that which appetite demands, is set down to 
the account of gluttony, — ^a sin which my whole soul abhors, nay, 
which Nature herself has put it out of my power to commit. I am 
constitutionally disenabled from that vice ; for how can he be guilty 
of excess, who never can get enough ? Let them cease, then, to 
watch my plate ; and leave off their ungracious comparisons of it to 
the seven baskets of fragments, and the supernaturally-replenished 
cup of old Baucis ; and be thankful that their more phlegmatic 
stomachs, not their virtue, have saved them from the like reproaches. 
I do not see that any of them desist from eating till the holy rage 



EDAX ON APPETITE 121 

of hunger, as some one calls it, is supplied. Alas ! I am doomed 
to stop short of that continence. 

What am I to do ? I am by disposition inclined to conviviality, 
and the social meal. I am no gourmand : I require no dainties : 
I should despise the board of Heliogabalus, except for its long 
sitting. Those vivacious, long-continued meals of the latter 
Romans, indeed I justly envy; but the kind of fare which the 
Curii and Dentati put up with, I could be content with. Dentatus 
I have been called, among other unsavory jests. Double-meal is 
another name which my acquaintance have palmed upon me, for an 
innocent piece of policy which I put in practice for some time 
without being found out ; which was, — going the round of my 
friends, beginning with the most primitive feeders among them, 
who take their dinner about one o'clock, and so successively dropping 
in upon the next and the next, till by the time I got among my 
more fashionable intimates, whose hour was six or seven, I have 
nearly made up the body of a just and complete meal (as I reckon 
it), without taking more than one dinner (as they account of 
dinners) at one person's house. Since I have been found out, I 
endeavour to make up by a damper, as I call it, at home, before 
I go out. But alas ! with me, increase of appetite truly grows by 
what it feeds on. What is peculiarly offensive to me at those 
dinner-parties is, the senseless custom of cheese, and the dessert 
afterwards. I have a rational antipathy to the former ; and for 
fruit, and those other vain vegetable substitutes for meat (meat, the 
only legitimate aliment for human creatures since the flood, as I 
take it to be deduced from that permission, or ordinance rather, given 
to Noah and his descendants), I hold them in perfect contempt. 
Hay for horses. I remember a pretty apologue, which Mandeville 
tells very much to this purpose in his Fable of the Bees : — He brings 
in a Lion arguing with a Merchant, who had ventured to ex- 
postulate with this king of beasts upon his violent methods of 
feeding. The Lion thus retorts : — " Savage I am, but no Creature 
can be called Cruel but what either by Malice or Insensibility 
extinguishes his natural Pity : The Lion was born without Com- 
passion ; we follow the instinct of our Nature ; the Gods have 
appointed us to live upon the waste and spoil of other Animals, and 
as long as we can meet with dead ones, we never hunt after the 
Living. 'Tis only Man, mischievous Man, that can make Death a 
sport. Nature taught your stomach to crave nothing but 
Vegetables." — (Under favour of the Lion, if he meant to assert this 
universally of mankind, it is not true. However, what he says 
presently is very sensible.) — " Your violent fondness to change, and 
greater eagerness after Novelties, have prompted you to the de- 
struction of Animals without Justice or Necessity. . . . The Lion has 



122 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

a ferment within him, that consumes the toughest Skin and hardest 
Bones, as well as the Flesh of all Animals without exception : Your 
squeamish Stomach, in which the Digestive Heat is weak and in- 
considerable, won't so much as admit of the most tender Parts of 
them, unless above half the Concoction has been performed by 
artificial Fire beforehand ; and yet what Animal have you spared, to 
satisfy the Caprices of a languid Appetite ? Languid I say ; for 
what is Man's Hunger if compared to the Lion's ? Yours, when 
it is at the worst, makes you Faint ; mine makes me Mad : Oft have 
I tried with Roots and Herbs to allay the violence of it, but in vain ; 
nothing but large quantities of Flesh can any ways appease it." — 
Allowing for the Lion not having a prophetic instinct to take in 
every lusus naturas that was possible of the human appetite, he 
was, generally speaking, in the right ; and the Merchant was so 
impressed with his argument that, we are told, he replied not, but 
fainted away. 0, Mr. Reflector, that I were not obliged to add, 
that the creature who thus argues was but a type of me ! Miserable 
man ! / arn that Lion. " Oft have I tried with roots and herbs to 
allay that violence, but in vain ; nothing but ." 

Those tales which are renewed as often as the editors of papers 
want to fill up a space in their unfeeling columns, of great eaters, — 
people that devour whole geese and legs of mutton for wagers, are 
sometimes attempted to be drawn to a parallel with my case. This 
wilful confounding of motives and circumstances, which make all 
the difference of moral or immoral in actions, just suits the sort of 
talent which some of my acquaintance pride themselves upon. 
Wagers ! — I thank heaven, I was never mercenary, nor could 
consent to prostitute a gift (though but a left-handed one) of 
nature, to the enlarging of my worldly substance ; prudent as the 
necessities, which that fatal gift have involved me in, might have 
made such a prostitution to appear in the eyes of an indelicate 
world. 

Rather let me say, that to the satisfaction of that talent which 
was given me, I have been content to sacrifice no common expecta- 
tions ; for such I had from an old lady, a near relation of our family, 
in whose good graces I had the fortune to stand, till one fatal 

evening . You have seen, Mr. Reflector, if you have ever 

passed your time much in country towns, the kind of suppers which 
elderly ladies in those places have lying in petto in an adjoining 
parlour, next to that where they are entertaining their periodically- 
invited coevals with cards and muffins. The cloth is usually spread 
some half-hour before the final rubber is decided, whence they 
adjourn to sup upon what may emphatically be called nothing. 
A sliver of ham, purposely contrived to be transparent to shew the 
china-dish through it, neighbouring a slip of invisible brawn, which 



EDAX ON APPETITE 123 

abuts upon something they call a tartlet, as that is bravely 
supported by an atom of marmalade, flanked in its turn by a 
grain of potted beef, with a power of such dishlings, minims of 
hospitality, spread in defiance of human nature, or rather with an 
utter ignorance of what it demands. Being engaged at one of these 
card-parties, I was obliged to go a little before supper-tim.e (as 
they facetiously call the point of time in which they are taking 
these shadowy refections), and the old lady, with a sort of fear 
shining through the smile of courteous hospitality that beamed in 
her countenance, begged me to step into the next room and take 
something before I went out in the cold,— a proposal which lay not 
in my nature to deny. Indignant at the airy prospect I saw before 
me, I set to, and in a trice dispatched the whole meal intended 
for eleven persons, — fish, flesh, fowl, pastry, — to the sprigs of 
garnishing parsley, and the last fearful custard that quaked upon 
the board. I need not describe the consternation, when in due 
time the dowagers adjourned from their cards. Where was the 

supper ? — and the servants' answer, Mr. had eat it all. — That 

freak, however, jested me out of a good three hundred pounds a 
year, which I afterwards was informed for a certainty the old lady 
meant to leave me. I mention it not in illustration of the unhappy 
faculty which I am possessed of; for any unlucky wag of a school- 
boy, with a tolerable appetite, could have done as much without 
feeling any hurt after it, — only that you may judge whether I am 
a man likely to set my talent to sale, or to require the pitiful 
stimulus of a wager. 

I have read in Pliny, or in some author of that stamp, of a reptile 
in Africa, whose venom is of that hot, destructive quality, that 
wheresoever it fastens its tooth, the whole substance of the animal 
that has been bitten in a few seconds is reduced to dust, crumbles 
away, and absolutely disappears : it is called from this quality, the 
Annihilator. Why am I forced to seek, in all the most prodigious 
and portentous facts of Natural History, for creatures typical of 
myself ? I am, that Snake, that Annihilator : " wherever I fasten, 
in a few seconds ." 

O happy sick men, that are groaning under the want of that very 
thing, the excess of which is my torment ! O fortunate, too for- 
tunate, if you knew your happiness, invalids ! What would I not 
give to exchange this fierce concoctive and digestive heat, — this 
rabid fury which vexes me, which tears and torments me, — for 
your quiet, mortified, hermit-like, subdued, and sanctified stomachs, 
— ^your cool, chastened inclinations, and coy desires for food ! 

To what unhappy figuration of the parts intestine I owe this 
unnatural craving, I must leave to the anatomists and the physicians 
to determine : they, like the rest of the world, have doubtless their 



124 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

eye upon me ; and as I have been cut up alive by the sarcasms of 
my friends, so I shudder when I contemplate the probability that 
this animal frame, when its restless appetites shall have ceased their 
importunity, may be cut up also (horrible suggestion !) to determine 
in what system of solids or fluids this original sin of my constitution 
lay lurking. What work will they make with their acids and alka- 
lines, their serums and coagulums, effervescences, viscous matter, 
bile, chyle, and acrimonious juices, to explain that cause which 
Nature, who willed the effect to punish me for my sins, may no less 
have determined to keep in the dark from them, to punish them for 
their presurnption. 

You may ask, Mr. Reflector, to what purpose is my appeal to 
you : what can you do for me .'' Alas ! I know too well that my 
case is out of the reach of advice, — out of the reach of consolation. 
But it is some relief to the wounded heart to impart its tale of 
misery ; and some of my acquaintance, who may read my case in 
your pages under a borrowed name, may be induced to give it a 
more humane consideration than I could ever yet obtain from them 
under my own. Make them, if possible, to reflect, that an original 
peculiarity of constitution is no crime ; that not that which goes 
into the mouth desecrates a man, but that which comes out of it, 
— such as sarcasm, bitter jests, mocks and taunts, and ill-natured 
observations ; and let them consider, if there be such things (which 
we have all heard of) as Pious Treachery, Innocent Adultery, &c. 
whether there may not be also such a thing as Innocent Gluttony. 
I shall only subscribe myself. 

Your afflicted servant, 

Edax. 



HOSPITA ON THE IMMODERATE INDULGENCE OF 
THE PLEASURES OF THE PALATE 

(1811. Text of 1818) 

To the Editor of the Reflector 

MR. REFLECTOR,— My husband and I are fond of company, 
and being in easy circumstances, we are seldom without a 
party to dinner two or three days in a week. The utmost cordiality 
has hitherto prevailed at our meetings ; but there is a young gentle- 



HOSPITA ON IMMODERATE INDULGENCE 125 

man, a near relation of my husband's, that has lately come among 
us, whose preposterous behaviour bids fair, if not timely checked, 
to disturb our tranquillity. He is too great a favourite with my 
husband in other respects, for me to remonstrate with him in any 
other than this distant way. A letter printed in your publication 
may catch his eye \ for he is a great reader, and makes a point of 
seeing all the new things that come out. Indeed, he is by no 
means deficient in understanding. My husband says that he has a 
good deal of wit ; but for my part I cannot say I am any judge of 
that, having seldom observed him open his mouth except for purposes 
very foreign to conversation. In short, Sir, this young gentleman's 
failing is, an immoderate indulgence of his palate. "The first time 
he dined with us, he thought it necessary to extenuate the length 
of time he kept the dinner on the table, by declaring that he had 
taken a very long walk in the morning, and came in fasting ; but 
as that excuse could not serve above once or twice at most, he has 
latterly dropped the mask altogether, and chosen to appear in his 
own proper colours without reserve or apology. 

You cannot imagine how unpleasant his conduct has become. 
His way of staring at the dishes as they are brought in, has abso- 
lutely something immodest in it : it is like the stare of an impudent 
man of fashion at a fine woman, when she first comes into a room. 
I am positively in pain for the dishes, and cannot help thinking 
they have consciousness, and will be put out of countenance, he 
treats them so like what they are not. 

Then again he makes no scruple of keeping a joint of meat on 
the table, after the cheese and fruit are brought in, till he has what 
he calls done with it. Now how awkward this looks, where there 
are ladies, you may judge, Mr. Reflector, — how it disturbs the 
order and comfort of a meal. And yet I always make a point of 
helping him first, contrary to all good manners, — before any of my 
female friends are helped, — that he may avoid this very error. 
I wish he would eat before he comes out. 

What makes his proceedings more particularly offensive at our 
house is, that my husband, though out of common politeness he is 
obliged to set dishes of animal food before his visitors, yet himself 
and his whole family (myself included) feed entirely on vegetables. 
We have a theory, that animal food is neither wholesome nor 
natural to man ; and even vegetables we refuse to eat until they 
have undergone the operation of fire, in consideration of those num- 
berless little living creatures which the glass helps us to detect in 
every fibre of the plant or root before it be dressed. On the same 
theory we boil our water, which is our only drink, before we suffer 
it to come to table. Our children are perfect little Pythagoreans : 
it would do you good to see them in their nursery, stuffing their 



126 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

dried fruits, figs, raisins, and onilk, which is the only approach to 
animal food which is allowed. They have no notion how the 
substance of a creature that ever had life can become food for 
another creature. A beef-steak is an absurdity to them ; a mutton- 
chop, a solecism in terms ; a cutlet, a word absolutely without any 
meaning ; a butcher is nonsense, except so far as it is taken for a 
man who delights in blood, or a hero. In this happy state of 
innocence we have kept their minds, not allowing them to go into 
the kitchen, or to hear of any preparations for the dressing of 
animal food, or even to know that such things are practised. But 
as a state of ignorance is incompatible with a certain age; and 
as my eldest girl, who is ten years old next Midsummer, must 
shortly be introduced into the world and sit at table with us, 
where she will see some things which will shock all her received 
notions, I have been endeavouring by little and little to break her 
mind, and prepare it for the disagreeable impressions which must 
be forced upon it. The first hint I gave her upon the subject, I 
could see her recoil from it with the same horror with which we 
listen to a tale of Anthropophagism ; but she has gradually grown 
more reconciled to it in some measure, from my telling her that it 
was the custom of the world, — to which, however senseless, we must 
submit so far as we could do it with innocence, not to give offence ; 
and she has shewn so much strength of mind on other occasions, which 
I have no doubt is owing to the calmness and serenity superinduced 
by her diet, that I am in good hopes, when the proper season for 
her debut arrives, she may be brought to endure the sight of a 
roasted chicken or a dish of sweetbreads, for the first time, without 
fainting. Such being the nature of our little household, you may 
guess what inroads into the economy of it, — what revolutions and 
turnings of things upside down, the example of such a feeder as 
Mr. is calculated to produce. 

I wonder at a time like the present, when the scarcity of every 
kind of food is so painfully acknowledged, that shaone has no effect 
upon him. Can he have read Mr. Malthus's Thoughts on the Ratio 
of Food to Population ? Can he think it reasonable that one man 
should consume the sustenance of many ? 

The young gentleman has an agreeable air and person, such as 
are not unlikely to recommend him on the score of matrimony. But 
his fortune is not over large ; and what prudent young woman 
would think of embarking hers with a man who would bring three 
or four mouths (or what is equivalent to them) into a family ? 
She might as reasonably choose a widower in the same circumstances 
with three or four children. 

I cannot think who he takes after. His father and mother, by 
all accounts, were very moderate eaters ; only I have heard that the 



THE GOOD CLEEK 127 

latter swallowed her victuals very fast, and the former had a tedious 
custom of sitting long at his meals. Perhaps he takes after both. 

I wish you would turn this in your thoughts, Mr. Reflector, and 
give us your ideas on the subject of excessive eating ; and, par- 
ticularly, of animal food. 

HOSPITA. 



THE GOOD CLERK, A CHARACTER ; WITH SOME AC- 
COUNT OF "THE COMPLETE ENGLISH TRADES- 



MAN" 



(1811) 



THE GOOD CLERK.— He writeth a fair and swift hand, and 
is competently versed in the Four First Rules of Arithmetic, 
in the Rule of Three (which is sometimes called the Golden Rule) 
and in Practice. We mention these things, that we may leave no 
room for cavillers to say, that any thing essential hath been omitted 
in our definition ; else, to speak the truth, these are but ordinary 
accomplishments, and such as every understrapper at a desk is 
commonly furnished with. The character we treat of soareth 
higher. 

He is clean and neat in his person ; not from a vain-glorious 
desire of setting himself forth to advantage in the eyes of the other 
sex (with which vanity too many of our young Sparks now-a-days 
are infected) but to do credit (as we say) to the office. For this 
reason he evermore taketh care that his desk or his books receive 
no soil ; the which things he is commonly as solicitous to have fair 
and unblemished, as the owner of a fine horse is to have him appear 
in good keep. 

He riseth early in the morning ; not because early rising con- 
duceth to health (though he doth not altogether despise that 
consideration) but chiefly to the intent that he may be first at 
the desk. There is his post, there he delighteth to be, unless when 
his meals, or necessity, calleth him away ; which time he alway 
esteemeth as lost, and maketh as short as possible. 

He is temperate in eating and drinking, that he may preserve a 
clear head and steady hand for his master's service. He is also 
partly induced to this observation of the rules of temperance by 
his respect for religion and the laws of his country ; which things 



128 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

(it may once for all be noted) do add special assistances to his 
actions, but do not and cannot furnish the main spring or motive 
thereto. His first ambition (as appeareth all along) is to be a 
good Clerk, his next a good Christian, a good Patriot, &c. 

Correspondent to this, he keepeth himself honest, not for fear of 
the laws, but because he hath observed how unseemly an article 
it maketh in the Day Book, or Ledger, when a sum is set down lost 
or missing ; it being his pride to make these books to agree, and to 
tally, the one side with the other, with a sort of architectural 
symmetry and correspondence. 

He marrieth, or marrieth not, as best suiteth with his employer's 
views. Some merchants do the rather desire to have married men 
in their Counting Houses, because they think the married state a 
pledge for their servants' integrity, and an incitement to them to be 
industrious ; and it was an observation of a late Lord Mayor of 
London, that the sons of Clerks do generally prove Clerks them- 
selves, and that Merchants encouraging persons in their employ to 
marry, and to have families, was the best method of securing a breed 
of sober industrious young men attached to the mercantile interest. 
Be this as it may, such a character as we have been describing, will 
wait till the pleasure of his employer is known on this point ; and 
regulateth his desires by the custom of the house or firm to which 
he belongeth. 

He avoideth profane oaths and jesting, as so much time lost from 
his employ ; what spare time he hath for conversation, which in a 
Counting House such as we have been supposing can be but small, 
he spendeth in putting seasonable questions to such of his fellows 
(and sometimes respectfully to the master himself) who can give 
him information respecting the price and quality of goods, the state 
of exchange, or the latest improvements in book-keeping ; thus 
making the motion of his lips, as well as of his fingers, subservient 
to his master's interest. Not that he refuseth a brisk saying, or a 
cheerful sally of wit, when it comes unforced, is free of offence, and 
hath a convenient brevity. For this reason he hath commonly 
some such phrase as this in his mouth : — 

It's a slovenly look 
To blot your book. 

Or, 

Red ink for ornament, black for use, 
The best of things are open to abuse. 

So upon the eve of any great holyday, of which he keepeth one or 
two at least every year, he will merrily say in the hearing of a 
confidential friend, but to none other : — 



THE GOOD CLERK 129 

All work and no play 
Makes Jack a dull boy. 
Or, 

A bow always bent must crack at last. 

But then this must always be understood to be spoken confidentially, 
and, as we say, under the rose. 

Lastly, his dress is plain without singularity ; with no other 
ornament than the quill, which is the badge of his function, stuck 
under the dexter ear, and this rather for convenience of having it 
at hand, when he hath been called away from his desk, and 
expecteth to resume his seat there again shortly, than from any 
delight which he taketh in foppery or ostentation. The colour of 
his clothes is generally noted to be black rather than brown, brown 
rather than blue or green. His whole deportment is staid, modest, 
and civil. His motto is Regularity. 

This Character was sketched, in an interval of business, to divert 
some of the melancholy hours of a Counting House. It is so little a 
creature of fancy, that it is scarce any thing more than a recollection 
of some of those frugal and economical maxims which, about the 
beginning of the last century, (England's meanest period), were en- 
deavoured to be inculcated and instilled into the breasts of the 
London Apprentices,^ by a class of instructors who might not 
inaptly be termed The Masters of Tnean Morals. The astonishing 
narrowness and illiberality of the lessons contained in some of those 
books is inconceivable by those whose studies have not led them 
that way, and would almost induce one to subscribe to the hard 
censure which Drayton has passed upon the mercantile spirit : — 

The gripple merchant, born to be the curse 
Of this brave Isle. 

I have now lying before me that curious book by Daniel Defoe, 
"The Complete English Tradesman." The pompous detail, the 
studied analysis of every little mean art, every sneaking address, 
every trick and subterfuge (short of larceny) that is necessary to the 
tradesman's occupation, with the hundreds of anecdotes, dialogues 
(in Defoe's liveliest manner) interspersed, all tending to the same 
amiable purpose, namely, the sacrificing of every honest emotion of 
the soul to what he calls the main chance, — if you read it in an 
ironical sense, and as a piece of covered satire, make it one of 
the most amusing books which Defoe ever writ, as much so as any 
of his best novels. It is difficult to say what his intention was in 
writing it. It is almost impossible to suppose him in earnest. Yet 

^ This term designated a larger class of young men than that to which it is now 
confined ; it took in the articled Clerks of Merchants and Bankers, the George 
Barnwells of the day. 
VOL. I. — 9 



130 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

such is the bent of the book to narrow and to degrade the heart, 
that if such maxims were as catching and infectious as those of 
a hcentious cast, which happily is not the case, had I been living 
at that time, I certainly should have recommended to the Grand 
Jury of Middlesex, who presented the Fable of the Bees, to have 
presented this book of Defoe's in preference, as of a far more vile 
and debasing tendency. I will give one specimen of his advice to 
the young Tradesman on the Government of his Temper. " The 
retail tradesman in especial, and even every tradesman in his 
station, must furnish himself with a competent stock of patience ; 
I mean that sort of patience which is needful to bear with all sorts of 
impertinence, and the most provoking curiosity that it is impossible 
to imagine the buyers, even the worst of them, are or can be guilty 
of. A tradesman behind his counter must have no flesh and 
Mood about him, no passions, no resentm,ent ; he must never be 
angry, no not so much as seem to be so, if a customer tumbles him 
five hundred pounds worth of goods, and scarce bids money for any 
thing ; nay, though they really come to his shop with no intent to 
buy, as many do, only to see what is to be sold, and though he 
knows they cannot be better pleased, than they are, at some other 
shop where they intend to buy, 'tis all one, the tradesman must 
take it, he must place it to the account of his calling, that 'tis his 
business to be ill used and resent nothing ,• and so must answer 
as obligingly to those that give him an hour or two's trouble and 
buy nothing, as he does to those who in half the time lay out ten 
or twenty pounds. The case is plain, and if some do give him 
trouble and do not buy, others make amends and do buy ; and 
as for the trouble, 'tis the business of the shop." Here follows a 
most admirable story of a mercer who, by his indefatigable mean- 
ness and more than Socratic patience under affronts, overcame and 
reconciled a lady, who upon the report of another lady that he had 
behaved saucily to some third lady, had determined to shun his 
shop, but by the over-persuasions of a fourth lady was induced to 
go to it ; which she does, declaring before hand that she will buy 
nothing, but give him all the trouble she can. Her attack and his 
defence, her insolence and his persevering patience, are described in 
colours worthy of a Mandeville ; but it is too long to recite. " The 
short inference from this long discourse (says he) is this, that here 
you see, and I could give you many examples like this, how and in 
what manner a shop-keeper is to behave himself in the way of his 
business; what impertinences, what taunts, flouts, and ridiculous 
things, he must bear in his trade, and must not shew the least 
return, or the least signal of disgust : he must have no passions, no 
fire in his temper ; he must be all soft and smooth ; nay, if his real 
temper be naturally fiery and hot, he must shew none of it in his 



THE GOOD CLERK 131 

shop; he must be a perfect complete hypocrite if he will be a 
complete tradesman. ^ It is true, natural tempers are not to be 
always counterfeited ; the man cannot easily be a lamb in his shop, 
and a lion in himself ; but let it be easy or hard, it must be done, and 
is done : there are men who have by custom and usage brought 
themselves to it, that nothing could be meeker and milder than they, 
when behind the counter, and yet nothing be more furious and 
raging in every other part of life ; nay the provocations they have 
met with in their shops have so irritated their rage, that they 
would go up stairs from their shop, and fall into frenzies, and a kind 
of madness, and beat their heads against the wall, and perhaps 
mischief themselves, if not prevented, till the violence of it had 
gotten vent, and the passions abate and cool. I heard once of a 
shop-keeper that behaved himself thus to such an extreme, that 
when he was provoked by the impertinence of the customers, 
beyond what his temper could bear, he would go up stairs and beat 
his wife, kick his children about like dogs, and be as furious for two 
or three minutes, as a man chained down in Bedlam ; and again, 
when that heat was over, would sit down and cry faster than the 
children he had abused ; and after the fit, he would go down into 
the shop again, and be as humble, courteous, and as calm as any 
man whatever ; so absolute a government of his passions had he in 
the shop and so little out of it : in the shop, a soul-less animal that 
would resent nothing ; and in the family a madman : in the shop, 
meek like a lamb ; but in the family, outrageous like a Libyan lion. 
The sum of the matter is, it is necessary for a tradesman to subject 
himself by all the ways possible to his business ; Ms customers are 
to be his idols : so far as he may worship idols by allowance, he 
is to bow down to them, and worship them ; at least he is not in any 
way to displease them, or shew any disgust or distaste whatsoever 
they may say or do ; the bottom of all is, that he is intending to ^et 
money by them, and it is not for him that gets money to offer the 
least inconvenience to them by whom he gets it ; he is to consider 
that, as Solomon says, the borrower is servant to the lender, so the 
seller is servant to the buyer." — What he says on the head of 
Pleasures and Recreations is not less amusing : — " The tradesman's 
pleasure should be in his business, his companions should be his 
books, (he means his Ledger, Waste-book, &c.) and if he has a 
family, he makes his excursions up stairs and no further : — none 
of my cautions aim at restraining a tradesman from diverting himself, 
as we call it, with his fireside, or keeping company with his wife 
and children." — Liberal allowance ; nay, almost licentious and 

'As no qualification accompanies this maxim, it must be understood as the 
genuine sentiment of the Author ! 



132 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

criminal indulgence ! — but it is time to dismiss this Philosopher of 
Meanness. More of this stuff would illiberalize the pages of the 
Reflector. Was the man in earnest, when he could bring such 
powers of description, and all the charms of natural eloquence, m com- 
mendation of the meanest, vilest, wretchedest degradations of the 
human character ? — Or did he not rather laugh in his sleeve at the 
doctrines which he inculcated, and retorting upon the grave Citizens 
of London their own arts, palm upon them a sample of disguised 
Satire under the name of wholesome Instruction ? 

L. B. 



-A' 



MEMOIR OF ROBERT LLOYD 

(1811) 

LSO, in October, in his 33d year, Mr Robert Lloyd, third 
son of Charles Lloyd. To dilate in many words upon his 
character, would be to violate the modest regard due to his memory, 
who in his lifetime shrunk so anxiously from every species of notice. 
His constitutional misfortune was an excess of nervous sensibility, 
which in the purest of hearts produced rather too great a spirit of self- 
abasement, a perpetual apprehension of not doing what was right. 
Yet, beyond this tenderness, he seemed absolutely to have no 
self-regards at all. His eye was single, and ever fixed upon that 
form of goodness, which he venerated wherever he found it, except 
in himself. What he was to his parents, and in his family, the 
newness of their sorrow may make it unseasonable to touch at ; 
his loss, alas ! was but one in a complication of domestic afflictions 
which have fallen so heavy of late upon a very worthy house. But 
as a friend, the writer of this memorial can witness, that what he 
once esteemed and loved, it was an unalterable law of his mind to 
continue to esteem and love. Absences of years, the discontinuance 
of correspondence, from whatever cause, for ever so gi-eat a length 
of time, made no difference. It seemed as if the affectionate part 
of his nature could suffer no abatement. The display of what the 
world calls shining talents, would have been incompatible with 
a character like his ; but he oftentimes let fall, in his familiar talk, 
and in his letters, bright and original illustrations of feeling, which 
might have been mistaken for genius, if his own watchful modest 
spirit had not constantly interposed to recall and substitute for 



CONFESSIONS OF A DRUNKAED 133 

them some of the ordinary forms of observation, which lay less out 
of that circle of common sympathy, within which his kind nature 
delighted to move. 



CONFESSIONS OF A DRUNKARD 

(1813. Text OF 1822) 

DEHORTATIONS from the use of strong liquors have been 
the favourite topic of sober declaimers in all ages, and have 
been received with abundance of applause by water-drinking critics. 
But with the patient himself, the man that is to be cured, un- 
fortunately their sound has seldom prevailed. Yet the evil is 
acknowledged, the remedy simple. Abstain. No force can oblige 
a man to raise the glass to his head against his will. 'Tis as easy as 
not to steal, not to tell lies. 

Alas ! the hand to pilfer, and the tongue to bear false witness, 
have no constitutional tendency. These are actions indifferent to 
them. At the first instance of the reformed will, they can be 
brought off without a murmur. The itching finger is but a figure 
in speech, and the tongue of the har can with the same natural 
delight give forth useful truths, with which it has been accustomed 
to scatter their pernicious contraries. But when a man has com- 
menced sot 

O pause, thou sturdy moralist, thou person of stout nerves and a 
strong head, whose liver is happily untouched, and ere thy gorge 
riseth at the name which I have written, first learn what the thing 
is ; how much of compassion, how much of human allowance, thou 
may'st virtuously mingle with thy disapprobation. Trample not on 
the ruins of a man. Exact not, under so terrible a penalty as 
infamy, a resuscitation from a state of death almost as real as that 
from which Lazarus rose not but by a miracle. 

Begin a reformation, and custom will make it easy. But what 
if the beginning be dreadful, the first steps not like climbing a 
mountain but going through fire ? what if the whole system must 
undergo a change violent as that which we conceive of the mutation 
of form in some insects ? what if a process comparable to flaying 
alive be to be gone through ? is the weakness that sinks under 
such struggles to be confounded with the pertinacity which clings 



134 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

to other vices, which have induced no constitutional necessity, no 
engagement of the whole victim, body and soul ? 

I have known one in that state, when he has tried to abstain but 
for one evening, — though the poisonous potion had long ceased to 
bring back its first enchantments, though he was sure it would 
rather deepen his gloom than brighten it, — in the violence of the 
struggle, and the necessity he has felt of getting rid of the present 
sensation at any rate, I have known him to scream out, to cry 
aloud, for the anguish and pain of the strife within him. 

Why should I hesitate to declare, that the man of whom I speak 
is myself ? I have no puling apology to make to mankind. I see 
them all in one way or another deviating from the pure reason. It 
is to my own nature alone I am accountable for the woe that I have 
brought upon it. 

I believe that there are constitutions, robust heads and iron 
insides, whom scarce any excesses can hurt ; whom brandy (I have 
seen them drink it like wine), at all events whom wine, taken in 
ever so plentiful measure, can do no worse injury to than just to 
muddle their faculties, perhaps never very pellucid. On them this 
discourse is wasted. They would but laugh at a weak brother, who, 
trying his strength with them, and coming off foiled from the 
contest, would fain persuade them that such agonistic exercises are 
dangerous. It is to a very different description of persons I speak. 
It is to the weak, the nervous ; to those who feel the want of some 
artificial aid to raise their spirits in society to what is no more than 
the ordinary pitch of all around them without it. This is the secret 
of our drinking. Such must fly the convivial board in the first 
instance, if they do not mean to sell themselves for term of life. 

Twelve years ago I had completed my six and twentieth year. 
I had lived from the period of leaving school to that time pretty 
much in solitude. My companions were chiefly books, or at most 
one or two living ones of my own book-loving and sober stamp. I 
rose early, went to bed betimes, and the faculties which God had 
given me, I have reason to think, did not rust in me unused. 

About that time I fell in with some companions of a different 
order. They were men of boisterous spirits, sitters up a-nights, dis- 
putants, drunken ; yet seemed to have something noble about them. 
We dealt about the wit, or what passes for it after midnight, 
jovially. Of the quality called fancy I certainly possessed a larger 
share than my companions. Encouraged by their applause, I set 
up for a profest joker ! I, who of all men am least fitted for such 
an occupation, having, in addition to the greatest difficulty which I 
experience at all times of finding words to express my meaning, a 
natural nervous impediment in my speech ! 

Reader, if you are gifted with nerves like mine, aspire to any 



CONFESSIONS OF A DRUNKAED 135 

character but that of a wit. When you find a tickling relish upon 
your tongue disposing you to that sort of conversation, especially if 
you find a preternatural flow of ideas setting in upon you at the 
sight of a bottle and fresh glasses, avoid giving way to it as you 
would fly your greatest destruction. If you cannot crush the power of 
fancy, or that within you which you mistake for such, divert it, give 
it some other play. Write an essay, pen a character or description, 
— but not as I do now, with tears trickling down your cheeks. 

To be an object of compassion to friends, of derision to foes ; to 
be suspected by strangers, stared at by fools ; to be esteemed dull 
when you cannot be witty, to be applauded for witty when you 
know that you have been dull ; to be called upon for the extem- 
poraneous exercise of that faculty which no premeditation can give ; 
to be spurred on to efforts which end in contempt ; to be set on to 
provoke mirth which procures the procurer hatred ; to give pleasure 
and be paid with squinting malice ; to swallow draughts of life- 
destroying wine which are to be distilled into airy breath to tickle 
vain auditors ; to mortgage miserable morrows for nights of madness ; 
to waste whole seas of time upon those who pay it back in little 
inconsiderable drops of grudging applause, — are the wages of 
buffoonery and death. 

Time, which has a sure stroke at dissolving all connexions which 
have no solider fastening than this liquid cement, more kind to 
me than my own taste or penetration, at length opened my eyes to 
the supposed qualities of my first friends. No trace of them is left 
but in the vices which they introduced, and the habits they infixed. 
In them my friends survive still, and exercise ample retribution for 
any supposed infidelity that I may have been guilty of towards 
them. 

My next more immediate companions were and are persons of such 
intrinsic and felt worth, that though accidentally their acquaintance 
has proved pernicious to me, I do not know that if the thing were 
to do over again, I should have the courage to eschew the mischief 
at the price of forfeiting the benefit. I came to them reeking from 
the steams of my late over-heated notions of companionship ; and 
the slightest fuel which they unconsciously afforded, was sufficient 
to feed my old fires into a propensity. 

They were no drinkers, but, one from professional habits, and 
another from a custom derived from his father, smoked tobacco. 
The devil could not have devised a more subtle trap to re-take a 
backsliding penitent. The transition, from gulping down draughts 
of liquid fire to puffing out innocuous blasts of dry smoke, was so like 
cheating him. But he is too hard for us when we hope to commute. 
He beats us at barter ; and when we think to set off a new failing 
against an old infirmity, 'tis odds but he puts the trick upon us of 



136 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

two for one. That (comparatively) white devil of tobacco brought 
with him in the end seven worse than himself. 

It were impertinent to carry the reader through all the processes 
by which, from smoking at first with malt liquor, I took my degrees 
through thin wines, through stronger wine and water, through 
small punch, to those juggling compositions, which, under the name 
of mixed liquors, slur a great deal of brandy or other poison under 
less and less water continually, until they come next to none, and 
so to none at all. But it is hateful to disclose the secrets of my 
Tartarus. 

I should repel my readers, from a mere incapacity of believing me, 
were I to tell them what tobacco has been to me, the drudging ser- 
vice which I have paid, the slavery which I have vowed to it. How, 
when I have resolved to quit it, a feeling as of ingratitude has 
started up ; how it has put on personal claims and made the 
demands of a friend upon me. How the reading of it casually in a 
book, as where Adams takes his whiff in the chimney-corner of some 
inn in Joseph Andrews, or Piscator in the Complete Angler breaks 
his fast upon a morning pipe in that delicate room Piscatoribus 
SacruTn, has in a moment broken down the resistance of weeks. 
How a pipe was ever in my midnight path before me, till the vision 
forced me to realize it, — how then its ascending vapours curled, its 
fragrance lulled, and the thousand delicious ministerings conversant 
about it, employing every faculty, extracted the sense of pain. How 
from illuminating it came to darken, from a quick solace it turned 
to a negative relief, thence to a restlessness and dissatisfaction, thence 
to a positive misery. How, even now, when the whole secret stands 
confessed in all its dreadful truth before me, I feel myself linked to 
it beyond the power of revocation. Bone of my bone 

Persons not accustomed to examine the motives of their actions, 
to reckon up the countless nails that rivet the chains of habit, 
or perhaps being bound by none so obdurate as those I have con- 
fessed to, may recoil from this as from an overcharged picture. 
But what short of such a bondage is it, which in spite of protesting 
friends, a weeping wife, and a reprobating world, chains down many 
a poor fellow, of no original indisposition to goodness, to his pipe 
and his pot .'' 

I have seen a print after Corregio, in which three female figures 
are ministering to a man who sits fast bound at the root of a tree. 
Sensuality is soothing him. Evil Habit is nailing him to a branch, 
and Repugnance at the same instant of time is applying a snake 
to his side. In his face is feeble delight, the recollection of past 
rather than perception of present pleasures, languid enjoyment of 
evil with utter imbecility to good, a Sybaritic effeminacy, a sub- 
mission to bondage, the springs of the will gone down like a 



CONFESSIONS OF A DEUNKARD 137 

broken clock, the sin and the suffering co-instantaneous, or the 
latter forerunning the former, remorse preceding action — all this 
represented in one point of time. — When I saw this, I admired the 
wonderful skill of the painter. But when I went away, I wept, 
because I thought of my own condition. 

Of that there is no hope that it should ever change. The waters 
have gone over me. But out of the black depths, could I be heard, 
I would cry out to all those who have but set a foot in the perilous 
flood. Could the youth, to whom the flavor of his first wine is 
delicious as the opening scenes of life, or the entering upon some 
newly discovered paradise, look into my desolation, and be made to 
understand what a dreary thing it is when a man shall feel himself 
going down a precipice with open eyes and a passive will, — to see 
his destruction, and have no power to stop it, and yet to feel it 
all the way emanating from himself; to perceive all goodness 
emptied out of him, and yet not to be able to forget a time when 
it was otherwise ; to bear about the piteous spectacle of his own 
self-ruins : — could he see my fevered eye, feverish with last night's 
drinking, and feverishly looking for this night's repetition of the 
folly ; could he feel the body of the death out of which I cry hourly 
with feebler and feebler outcry to be delivered, — it were enough to 
make him dash the sparkling beverage to the earth in all the pride 
of its mantling temptation ; to make him clasp his teeth, 

and not undo 'em 
To suffer wet damnation to run through 'em. 

Yea, but (methinks I hear somebody object) if sobriety be that 
fine thing you would have us to understand, if the comforts of a 
cool brain are to be preferred to that state of heated excitement 
which you describe and deplore, what hinders in your own instance 
that you do not return to those habits from which you would in- 
duce others never to swerve ? if the blessing be worth preserving, is 
it not worth recovering ? 

Recovering ! — O if a wish could transport me back to those days 
of youth, when a draught from the next clear spring could slake 
any heats which summer suns and youthful exercise had power 
to stir up in the blood, how gladly would I return to thee, pure 
element, the drink of children, and of child-like holy hermit. In 
my dreams I can sometimes fancy thy cool refreshment purling over 
my burning tongue. But my waking stomach rejects it. That 
which refreshes innocence, only makes me sick and faint. 

But is there no middle way betwixt total abstinence and the 
excess which kills you ? — For your sake, reader, and that you may 
never attain to my experience, with pain I must utter the dreadful 
truth, that there is none, none that I can find. In my stage of 



138 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

habit (I speak not of habits less confirmed — for some of them I 
believe the advice to be most prudential) in the stage which I have 
reached, to stop short of that measure which is sufficient to draw on 
torpor and sleep, the benumbing apoplectic sleep of the drunkard, 
is to have taken none at all. The pain of the self-denial is all 
one. And what that is, I had rather the reader should believe on 
my credit, than know from his own trial. He will come to know 
it, whenever he shall amve at that state, in which, paradoxical 
as it may appear, reason shall only visit him, through intoxica- 
tion : for it is a fearful truth, that the intellectual faculties by 
repeated acts of intemperance may be driven from their orderly 
sphere of action, their clear day-light ministeries, until they shall 
be brought at last to depend, for the faint manifestation of their 
departing energies, upon the returning periods of the fatal madness 
to which they owe their devastation. The drinking man is never 
less himself than during his sober intervals. Evil is so far his- 
good.^ 

Behold me then, in the robust period of life, reduced to imbe- 
cility and decay. Hear me count my gains, and the profits which 
I have derived from the midnight cup. 

Twelve years ago I was possessed of a healthy frame of mind and 
body. I was never strong, but 1 think my constitution (for a weak 
one) was as happily exempt from the tendency to any malady as it 
was possible to be. I scarce knew what it was to ail any thing. 
Now, except when I am losing myself in a sea of drink, I am never 
free from those uneasy sensations in head and stomach, which are 
so much worse to bear than any definite pains or aches. 

At that time I was seldom in bed after six in the morning,, 
summer and winter. I awoke refreshed, and seldom without some- 
merry thoughts in my head, or some piece of a song to welcome 
the new-born day. Now, the first feeling which besets me, after 
stretching out the hours of recumbence to their last possible extent,. 
is a forecast of the wearisome day that lies before me, with a secret 
wish that I could have lain on still, or never awaked. 

Life itself, my waking life, has much of the confusion, the 
trouble, and obscure perplexity, of an ill dream. In the daytime 
I stumble upon dark mountains. 

Business, which, though never particularly adapted to my nature, 
yet as something of necessity to be gone through, and therefore 
best undertaken with cheerfulness, I used to enter upon with some 

^ When poor M painted his last picture, with a pencil in one trembling hand, 

and a glass of brandy and water in the other, his fingers owed the comparative 
steadiness, with which they were enabled to go through their task in an imperfect 
manner, to a temporary firmness derived from a repetition of practices, the general 
effect of which had shaken both them and him so terribly. 



RECOLLECTIONS OF CHRIST'S HOSPITAL 139 

degree of alacrity, now wearies, aflrights, perplexes me. I fancy 
all sorts of discouragements, and am ready to give up an occupation 
which gives me bread, from a harassing conceit of incapacity. The 
slightest commission given me by a friend, or any small duty which 
I have to perform for myself, as giving orders to a tradesman, &c. 
haunts me as a labour impossible to be got through. So much the 
springs of action are broken. 

The same cowardice attends me in all my intercourse with man- 
kind. I dare not promise that a friend's honour, or his cause, 
would be safe in my keeping, if I were put to the expense of any 
manly resolution in defending it. So much the springs of moral 
action are deadened within me. 

My favom-ite occupations in times past, now cease to entertain. 
I can do nothing readily. Application for ever so short a time 
kills me. This poor abstract of my condition was penned at long 
intervals, with scarcely any attempt at connexion of thought, 
which is now difficult to me. 

The noble passages which formerly delighted me in history or 
poetic fiction, now only draw a few weak tears, allied to dotage. 
My broken and dispirited nature seems to sink before any thing 
great and admirable. 

I perpetually catch myself in tears, for any cause, or none. It is 
inexpressible how much this infirmity adds to a sense of shame, and 
a general feeling of deterioration. 

These are some of the instances, concerning which I can say with 
truth, that it was not always so with me. 

Shall I lift up the veil of my weakness any further.? or is this 
disclosure sufficient .'' 

I am a poor nameless egotist, who have no vanity to consult by 
these Confessions. I know not whether I shall be laughed at, or 
heard seriously. Such as they are, I commend them to the reader's 
attention, if he finds his own case any way touched. I have told 
him what I am come to. Let him stop in time. 

Elia. 



RECOLLECTIONS OF CHRISTS HOSPITAL 

(1813. Text of 1818) 

TO comfort the desponding parent with the thought that, with- 
out diminishing the stock which is imperiously demanded to 
furnish the more pressing and homely wants of our nature, he has 



140 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

disposed of one or more perhaps out of a numerous offspring, under 
the shelter of a care scarce less tender than the paternal, where 
not only their bodily cravings shall be supplied, but that mental 
pabulum is also dispensed, which He hath declared to be no less 
necessary to our sustenance, who said, that " not by bread alone 
man can live ; " for this Christ's Hospital unfolds her bounty. Here 
neither, on the one hand, are the youth lifted up above their family, 
which we must suppose liberal though reduced ; nor, on the other 
hand, are they liable to be depressed below its level by the mean 
habits and sentiments which a common charity-school generates. It 
is, in a word, an Institution to keep those who have yet held up 
their heads in the world from sinking ; to keep alive the spirit of a 
decent household, when poverty was in danger of crushing it ; to 
assist those who are the most willing, but not always the most able, 
to assist themselves ; to separate a child from his family for a season, 
in order to render him back hereafter, with feelings and habits more 
congenial to it, than he could even have attained by remaining at 
home in the bosom of it. It is a preserving and renovating principle, 
an antidote for the res angusta domi, when it presses, as it always 
does, most heavily upon the most ingenuous natures. 

This is Christ's Hospital ; and whether its character would be 
improved by confining its advantages to the very lowest of the 
people, let those judge who have witnessed the looks, the gestures, 
the behaviour, the manner of their play with one another, their 
deportment towards strangers, the whole aspect and physiognomy of 
that vast assemblage of boys on the London foundation, who freshen 
and make alive again with their sports the else mouldering cloisters 
of the old Grey Friars — which strangers who have never witnessed, 
if they pass through Newgate-street, or by Smithfield, would do 
well to go a little out of their way to see. 

For the Christ's Hospital boy feels that he is no charity-boy ; he 
feels it in the antiquity and regality of the foundation to which he 
belongs ; in the usage which he meets with at school, and the treat- 
ment he is accustomed to out of its bounds ; in the respect, and even 
kindness, which his well known garb never fails to procure him in the 
streets of the metropolis ; he feels it in his education, in that measure 
of classical attainments, which every individual at that school, though 
not destined to a learned profession, has it in his power to procure, 
attainments which it would be worse than folly to put it in the 
reach of the labouring classes to acquire : he feels it in the number- 
less comforts, and even magnificences, which surround him ; in 
his old and awful cloisters, with their traditions ; in his spacious 
school-rooms, and in the well-ordered, airy, and lofty rooms where he 
sleeps ; in his stately dining-hall, hung round with pictures by 
Verrio, Lely, and others, one of them surpassing in size and grandeur 



RECOLLECTIONS OF CHRIST'S HOSPITAL 141 

almost any other in the kingdom ; i above all, in the very extent 
and magnitude of the body to which he belongs, and the consequent 
spirit, the intelligence, and public conscience, which is the result of 
so many various yet wonderfully combining members. Compared 
with this last-named advantage, what is the stock of information, 
(I do not here speak of book-learning, but of that knowledge which 
boy receives from boy,) the mass of collected opinions, the in- 
telligence in common, among the few and narrow members of an 
ordinary boarding-school ? 

The Christ's Hospital or Blue-coat boy, has a distinctive character 
of his own, as far removed from the abject qualities of a common 
charity-boy as it is from the disgusting forwardness of a lad brought 
up at some other of the public schools. There is pride in it, 
accumulated from the circumstances which I have described as 
differencing him from the former; and there is a restraining 
modesty, from a sense of obligation and dependence, which must 
ever keep his deportment from assimilating to that of the latter. 
His very garb, as it is antique and venerable, feeds his self-respect ; 
as it is a badge of dependence, it restrains the natural petulance of 
that age from breaking out into overt-acts of insolence. This pro- 
duces silence and a reserve before strangers, yet not that cowardly 
shyness which boys mewed up at home will feel ; he will speak up 
when spoken to, but the stranger must begin the conversation with 
him. Within his bounds he is all fire and play ; but in the streets 
he steals along with all the self-concentration of a yoimg monk. 
He is never known to mix with other boys, they are a sort of laity 
to him. All this proceeds, I have no doubt, from the continual 
consciousness which he carries about him of the difference of his 
dress from that of the rest of the world ; with a modest jealousy 
over himself, lest, by over-hastily mixing with common and secular 
playfellows, he should commit the dignity of his cloth. Nor let 
any one laugh at this ; for, considering the propensity of the 
multitude, and especially of the small multitude, to ridicule any 
thing unusual in dress — above all, where such peculiarity may be 
construed by malice into a mark of disparagement — this reserve 
will appear to be nothing more than a wise instinct in the Blue- 
coat boy. That it is neither pride nor rusticity, at least that 
it has none of the offensive qualities of either, a stranger may 
soon satisfy himself by putting a question to any of these boys : 
he may be sure of an answer couched in terms of plain civility, 
neither loquacious nor embarrassed. Let him put the same 
question to a parish-boy, or to one of the trencher-caps in the 

^ By Verrio, representing James the Second on his throne, surrounded by his 
courtiers, (all curious portraits,) receiving the mathematical pupils at their annual 
presentation, a custom still kept up on New-year's-day at Court. 



142 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

-cloisters, and the impudent reply of the one shall not fail to 



exasperate any more than the certain servility, and mercenary eye 
to reward, which he will meet with in the other, can fail to depress 
and sadden him. 

The Christ's Hospital boy is a religious character. His school 
is eminently a religious foundation ; it has its peculiar prayers, its 
services at set times, its graces, hymns, and anthems, following each . 
other in an almost monastic closeness of succession. This religious 
character in him is not always untinged with superstition. That is 
not wonderful, when we consider the thousand tales and traditions 
which must circulate, with undisturbed credulity, amongst so many 
boys, that have so few checks to their belief from any intercourse with 
the world at large ; upon whom their equals in age must work so 
much, their elders so little. With this leaning towards an over- 
belief in matters of religion, which will soon correct itself when he 
comes out into society, may be classed a turn for romance above 
most other boys. This is to be traced in the same manner to their 
excess of society with each other, and defect of mingling with the 
world. Hence the peculiar avidity with which such books as the 
Arabian Nights Entertainments, and others of a still wilder cast, 
are, or at least were in my time, sought for by the boys. I remember 
when some half-dozen of them set off from school, without map, 
card, or compass, on a serious expedition to find out Philip Quarll's 
Island. 

The Christ's Hospital boy's sense of right and wrong is peculiarly 
tender and apprehensive. It is even apt to run out into ceremonial 
observances, and to impose a yoke upon itself beyond the strict 
obligations of the moral law. Those who were contemporaries with 
me at that School thirty years ago, will remember with what more 
than Judaic rigour the eating of the fat of certain boiled meats ^ was 
interdicted. A boy would have blushed, as at the exposure of 
some heinous immorality, to have been detected eating that forbidden 
portion of his allowance of animal food, the whole of which, while 
he was in health, was little more than sufficient to allay his hunger. 
The same, or even greater, refinement was shewn in the rejection of 
certain kinds of sweet-cake. What gave rise to these supererogatory 
penances, these self-denying ordinances, I could never learn ; ^ they 

1 Under the denomination of gags. 

' I am told that the late steward,* who evinced on many occasions a most praise- 
worthy anxiety to promote the comfort of the boys, had occasion for all his address 
and perseverance to eradicate the first of these unfortunate prejudices, in which 
he at length happily succeeded, and thereby restored to one-half of the animal 
nutrition of the school those honors which painful superstition and blind zeal had 
so long conspired to withhold from it. 

* Mr. Hathaway. 



EECOLLECTIONS OF CHEIST'S HOSPITAL 143 

certainly argue no defect of the conscientious principle. A little 
€xcess in that article is not undesirable in youth, to make allowance 
for the inevitable waste which comes in maturer years. But in the 
less ambiguous line of duty, in those directions of the moral feelings 
which cannot be mistaken or depreciated, I will relate what took 
place in the year 1785, when Mr. Perry, the steward, died. I must 
be pardoned for taking my instances from my own times. Indeed, 
the vividness of my recollections, while I am upon this subject, 
almost brings back those times ; they are present to me still. But I 
believe that in the years which have elapsed since the period which 
I speak of, the character of the Christ's Hospital boy is very little 
changed. Their situation in point of many comforts is improved ; 
but that which I ventured before to term the public conscience of 
the school, the pervading moral sense, of which every mind partakes, 
and to which so many individual minds contribute, remains, I believe, 
pretty much the same as when I left it. I have seen within this 
twelvemonth almost the change which has been produced upon a 
boy of eight or nine years of age, upon being admitted into that 
school ; how, from a pert young coxcomb, who thought that all 
knowledge wa^ comprehended within his shallow brains, because a 
smattering of two or three languages and one or two sciences were 
stuffed into him by injudicious treatment at home, by a mixture 
with the wholesome society of so many schoolfellows, in less time 
than I have spoken of, he has sunk to his own level, and is contented 
to be carried on in the quiet orb of modest self-knowledge in which 
the common mass of that unpresumptuous assemblage of boys seem 
to move : from being a little unfeeling mortal, he has got to feel 
and reflect. Nor would it be a difficult matter to shew how, at a 
school like this, where the boy is neither entirely separated from 
home, nor yet exclusively under its influence, the best feelings, the 
filial for instance, are brought to a maturity which they could not 
have attained under a completely domestic education ; how the 
relation of parent is rendered less tender by unremitted associa- 
tion, and the very awfulness of age is best apprehended by some 
sojourning amidst the comparative levity of youth ; how absence, 
not drawn out by too great extension into alienation or forgetful- 
ness, puts an edge upon the relish of occasional intercourse, and the 
boy is made the better child by that which keeps the force of that 
relation from being felt as perpetually pressing on him ; how the 
substituted paternity, into the care of which he is adopted, while in 
everything substantial it makes up for the natural, in the necessary 
omission of individual fondnesses and partialities, directs the mind 
only the more strongly to appreciate that natural and first tie, in 
which such weaknesses are the bond of strength, and the appetite 
which craves after them betrays no perverse palate. But these 



144 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

speculations rather belong to the question of the comparative 
advantages of a public over a private education in general. I must 
get back to my favourite school ; and to that which took place when 
our old and good steward died. 

And I will say, that when I think of the frequent instances which 
I have met with in children, of a hard-heartedness, a callousness, and 
insensibility to the loss of relations, even of those who have begot 
and nourished them, I cannot but consider it as a proof of something 
in the peculiar conformation of that school, favourable to the ex- 
pansion of the best feelings of our nature, that, at the period which 
I am noticing, out of five hundred boys there was not a dry eye ta 
be found among them, nor a heart that did not beat with genuine 
emotion. Every impulse to play, until the funeral day was past, 
seemed suspended throughout the school ; and the boys, lately so 
mirthful and sprightly, were seen pacing their cloisters alone, or in 
sad groupes standing about, few of them without some token, such as 
their slender means could provide, a black ribband, or something 
to denote respect and a sense of their loss. The time itself was 
a time of anarchy, a time in which all authority (out of school- 
hours) was abandoned. The ordinary restraints were for those 
days superseded ; and the gates, which at other times kept us in, 
were left without watchers. Yet, with the exception of one or 
two graceless boys at most, who took advantage of that sus- 
pension of authority to skulk out, as it was called, the whole 
body of that great school kept rigorously within their bounds, 
by a voluntary self-imprisonment; and they who broke bounds, 
though they escaped punishment from any master, fell into 
a general disrepute among us, and, for that which at any other 
time would have been applauded and admired as a mark of 
spirit, were consigned to infamy and reprobation : so much natural 
government have gratitude and the principles of reverence and 
love, and so much did a respect to their dead friend prevail with 
these Christ's Hospital boys above any fear which his presence 
among them when living could ever produce. And if the impres- 
sions which were made on my mind so long ago are to be trusted, 
very richly did their steward deserve this tribute. It is a pleasure 
to me even now to call to mind his portly form, the regal awe 
which he always contrived to inspire, in spite of a tenderness and 
even weakness of nature that would have enfeebled the reins of 
discipline in any other master ; a yearning of tenderness towards 
those under his protection, which could make five hundred boys 
at once feel towards him each as to their individual father. He 
had faults, with which we had nothing to do ; but, with all his 
faults, indeed, Mr. Perry was a most extraordinary creature. Con- 
temporary with him, and still living, though he has long since 



EECOLLECTIONS OF CHEIST'S HOSPITAL 145 

resigned his occupation, will it be impertinent to mention the name 
of our excellent upper grammar-master, the Rev. James Boyer? 
He was a disciplinarian, indeed, of a different stamp from him 
whom I have just described ; but, now the terrors of the rod, and 
of a temper a little too hasty to leave the more nervous of us quite 
at our ease to do justice to his merits in those days, are long since 
over, ungrateful were we if we should refuse our testimony to 
that unwearied assiduity with which he attended to the particu- 
lar improvement of each of us. Had we been the offspring of the 
first gentry in the land, he could not have been instigated by the 
strongest views of recompense and reward to have made himself a 
greater slave to the most laborious of all occupations than he did 
for us sons of charity, from whom, or from our parents, he could 
expect nothing. He has had his reward in the satisfaction of 
having discharged his duty, in the pleasurable consciousness of 
having advanced the respectability of that institution to which, 
both man and boy, he was attached; in the honours to which so 
many of his pupils have successfully aspired at both our Univer- 
sities ; and in the staff with which the Governors of the Hospital 
at the close of his hard labours, with the highest expressions of the 
obligations the school lay under to him unanimously voted to 
present him. 

I have often considered it among the felicities of the constitution 
of this school, that the offices of steward and schoolmaster are kept 
distinct ; the strict business of education alone devolving upon the 
latter, while the former has the charge of all things out of school, 
the controul of the provisions, the regulation of meals, of dress, of 
play, and the ordinary intercourse of the boys. By this division of 
management, a superior respectability must attach to the teacher 
while his office is unmixed with any of these lower concerns. A 
still greater advantage over the construction of common boarding- 
schools is to be found in the settled salaries of the masters, render- 
ing them totally free of obligation to any individual pupil or his 
parents. This never fails to have its effect at schools where each 
boy can reckon up to a hair what profit the master derives from 
him, where he views him every day in the light of a caterer, a 
provider for the family, who is to get so much by him in each 
of his meals. Boys will see and consider these things ; and how 
much must the sacred character of preceptor suffer in their minds 
by these degrading associations ! The very bill which the pupil 
carries home with him at Christmas, eked out, perhaps, with 
elaborate though necessary minuteness, instructs him that his 
teachers have other ends than the mere love to learning in the 
lessons which they give him ; and though they put into his hands 
the fine sayings of Seneca or Epictetus, yet they themselves are 
VOL. I. — 10 



146 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

none of those disinterested pedagogues to teach philosophy gratts. 
The master, too, is sensible that he is seen in this light ; and how 
much this must lessen that affectionate regard to the learners which 
alone can sweeten the bitter labour of instruction, and convert the 
whole business into unwelcome and uninteresting taskwork, many 
preceptors that I have conversed with on the subject are ready, 
with a sad heart, to acknowledge. From this inconvenience the 
settled salaries of the masters of this school in great measure exempt 
them ; while the happy custom of chusing masters (indeed every 
officer of the establishment) from those who have received their 
education there, gives them an interest in advancing the character 
of the school, and binds them to observe a tenderness and a respect 
to the children, in which a stranger, feeling that independence which 
I have spoken of, might well be expected to fail. 

In affectionate recollections of the place where he was bred up, in 
hearty recognitions of old school-fellows met with again after the 
lapse of years, or in foreign countries, the Christ's Hospital boy 
yields to none ; I might almost say, he goes beyond most other 
boys. The very compass and magnitude of the school, its thousand 
bearings, the space it takes up in the imagination beyond the 
ordinary schools, impresses a remembrance, accompanied with an 
elevation of mind, that attends him through life. It is too big, 
too affecting an object, to pass away quickly from his mind. The 
Christ's Hospital boy's friends at school are commonly his intimates 
through life. For me, I do not know whether a constitutional 
imbecility does not incline me too obstinately to cling to the re- 
membrances of childhood ; in an inverted ratio to the usual senti- 
ments of mankind, nothing that I have been engaged in since seems 
of any value or importance, compared to the colours which imagi- 
nation gave to everything then. I belong to no body corporate 
such as I then made a part of. — And here, before I close, taking 
leave of the general reader, and addressing myself solely to my old 
school fellows, that were contemporaries with me from the year 1782 
to 1789, let me have leave to remember some of those circumstances 
of our school, which they will not be unwilling to have brought 
back to their minds. 

And first, let us remember, as first in importance in our childish 
eyes, the young men (as they almost were) who, under the denomi- 
nation of Grecians, were waiting the expiration of the period when 
they should be sent, at the charges of the Hospital, to one or other 
of our Universities, but more frequently to Cambridge. These 
youths, from their superior acquirements, their superior age and 
stature, and the fewness of their numbers, (for seldom above two or 
three at a time were inaugurated into that high order,) drew the 
eyes of all, and especially of the younger boys, into a reverent 



EECOLLECTIONS OF CHRIST'S HOSPITAL 147 

observance and admiration. How tall they used to seem to us ! — 
how stately would they pace along the cloisters ! — while the play of 
the lesser boys was absolutely suspended, or its boisterousness at 
least allayed, at theu- presence ! Not that they ever beat or struck 
the boys — that would have been to have demeaned themselves — 
the dignity of their persons alone insured them all respect. The 
task of blows, of corporal chastisement, they left to the common 
monitors, or heads of wards, who, it must be confessed, in our time 
had rather too much licence allowed them to oppress and misuse 
their inferiors ; and the interference of the Grecian, who may be 
considered as the spiritual power, was not unfrequently called for, 
to mitigate by its mediation the heavy unrelenting arm of this 
temporal power, or monitor. In fine, the Grecians were the solemn 
Muftis of the school. Mvas were computed from their time ; — it 

used to be said, such or such a thing was done when S or 

T— - — - was Grecian. 

As I ventured to call the Grecians the Muftis of the school, the 
king's boys,^ as their character then was, may well pass for the 
Janisaries. They were the terror of all the other boys ; bred up 
under that hardy sailor, as well as excellent mathematician, and 
co-navigator with Captain Cook, William Wales. All his systems 
were adapted to fit them for the rough element which they were 
destined to encounter. Frequent and severe punishments, which 
were expected to be borne with more than Spartan fortitude, came 
to be considered less as inflictions of disgrace than as trials of 
obstinate endurance. To make his boys hardy, and to give them 
early sailor-habits, seemed to be his only aim ; to this every thing 
was subordinate. Moral obliquities, indeed, were sure of receiving 
their full recompense, for no occasion of laying on the lash was ever 
let slip ; but the effects expected to be produced from it were 
something very different from contrition or mortification. There 
was in William Wales a perpetual fund of humour, a constant glee 
about him, which, heightened by an inveterate provincialism of 
North country-dialect, absolutely took away the sting from his 
severities. His punishments were a game at patience, in which the 
master was not always worst contented when he found himself at 
times overcome by his pupil. What success this discipline had, or 
how the effects of it operated upon the after-lives of these king's 
boys, I cannot say : but I am sure that, for the time, they were 
absolute nuisances to the rest of the school. Hardy, brutal, and 
often wicked, they were the most graceless lump in the whole mass ; 
older and bigger than the other boys, (for, by the system of their 
education they were kept longer at school by two or three years 

1 The mathematical pupils, bred up to the sea, on the foundation of Charles the 
Second. 



148 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

than any of the rest, except the Grecians,) they were a constant 
terror to the younger part of the school ; and some who may read 
this, I doubt not, will remember the consternation into which the 
juvenile fry of us were thrown, when the cry was raised in the 
cloisters, that the First Order was coming — for so they termed the 
first form or class of those boys. Still these sea-boys answered 
some good purposes in the school. They were the military class 
among the boys, foremost in athletic exercises, who extended the 
fame of the prowess of the school far and near ; and the apprentices 
in the vicinage, and sometimes the butchers' boys in the neighbour- 
ing market, had sad occasion to attest their valour. 

The time would fail me if I were to attempt to enumerate all 
those circumstances, some pleasant, some attended with some pain, 
which, seen through the mist of distance, come sweetly softened to 
the memory. But I must crave leave to remember our transcending 
superiority in those invigorating sports, leap-frog, and basting the 
bear ; our delightful excursions in the summer holidays to the New 
River, near Newington, where, like otters, we would live the long day 
in the water, never caring for dressing ourselves when we had once 
stripped ; our savoury meals afterwards, when we came home almost 
famished with staying out all day without our dinners ; our visits 
at other times to the Tower, where, by antient privilege, we had free 
access to all the curiosities ; our solemn processions through the 
City at Easter, with the Lord Mayor's largess of buns, wine, and a 
shilling, with the festive questions and civic pleasantries of the dis- 
pensing Aldermen, which were more to us than all the rest of the 
banquet ; our stately suppings in public, where the well-lighted 
hall, and the confluence of well-dressed company who came to see us, 
made the whole look more like a concert or assembly, than a scene 
of a plain bread and cheese collation ; the annual orations upon St. 
Matthew's day, in which the senior scholar, before he had done, 
seldom failed to reckon up, among those who had done honour to 
our school by being educated in it, the names of those accomplished 
critics and Greek scholars, Joshua Barnes and Jeremiah Markland 
(I marvel they left out Camden while they were about it). Let me 
have leave to remember our hymns and anthems, and well-toned 
organ ; the doleful tune of the burial anthem chanted in the 
solemn cloisters, upon the seldom-occurring funeral of some school- 
fellow ; the festivities at Christmas, when the richest of us would 
club our stock to have a gaudy day, sitting round the fire, re- 
plenished to the height with logs, and the penniless, and he that 
could contribute nothing, partook in all the mirth, and in some of 
the substantialities of the feasting ; the carol sung by night at that 
time of the year, which, when a young boy, I have so often lain 
awake to hear from seven (the hour of going to bed) till ten, when 



TABLE-TALK IN THE EXAMINER 149 

it was sung by the older boys and monitors, and have listened to 
it, in their rude chanting, till I have been transported in fancy to 
the fields of Bethlehem, and the song which was sung at that season 
by angels' voices to the shepherds. 

Nor would I willingly forget any of those things which ad- 
ministered to our vanity. The hem-stitched bands, and town-made 
shirts, which some of the most fashionable among us wore ; the 
town-girdles, with buckles of silver, or shining stone ; the badges of 
the sea-boys ; the cots, or superior shoe-strings of the monitors ; 
the medals of the markers, (those who were appointed to hear the 
Bible read in the wards on Sunday morning and evening,) which 
bore on their obverse in silver, as certain parts of our garments 
carried in meaner metal, the countenance of our Founder, that 
godly and royal child, King Edward the Sixth, the flower of the 
Tudor name — the young flower that was untimely cropt as it began 
to fill our land with its early odours — the boy-patron of boys — 
the serious and holy child who walked with Cranmer and Ridley 
— fit associate, in those tender years, for the bishops and future 
martyrs of our Church, to receive, or (as occasion sometimes 
proved,) to give instruction. "^ - 

" But, ah ! what means the silent tear ? 

Why, e'en mid joy, my bosom heave ? 
Ye long-lost scenes, enchantments dear ! 

Lo ! now I linger o'er your grave. 

Fly, then, ye hours of rosy hue. 

And bear away the bloom of years ! .' ' 

And quick succeed, ye sickly crew 

Of doubts and sorrows, pains and fears ! 

Still will I ponder Fate's unalter'd plan, 

Nor, tracing back the child, forget that I am man." ^ 



TABLE-TALK IN THE EXAMINER 

I.— REYNOLDS AND LEONARDO DA VINCI 
(1813) 

THE Reynolds Gallery has upon the whole disappointed me. 
Some of the portaits are interesting. They are faces of 
characters whom we (middle-aged gentlemen) were born a little 

' Lines meditated in the cloisters of Christ's Hospital, in the " Poetics " of Mr. 
George Dyer. 



150 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

too late to remember, but about whom we have heard our fathers 
tell stories, till we almost fancy to have seen them. There is a 
charm in the portrait of a Rodney, or a Keppel, which even a pic- 
ture of Nelson must want for me. I should turn away after a slight 
inspection from the best likeness that could be made of Mrs. Anne 
Clark ; but Kitty Fisher is a considerable personage. Then the 
dresses of some of the women so exactly remind us of modes which 
we can just recall ; of the forms under which the venerable relation- 
ships of aunt or mother first presented themselves to our young eyes ; 
the aprons, the coifs, the lappets, the hoods. Mercy on us, what a 
load of head-ornaments seem to have conspired to bury a pretty face 
in the picture of Mrs. Long, yet could not ! Beauty must have 
some " charmed life " to have been able to surmount the conspiracy 
of fashion in those days to destroy it. The portraits which least 
pleased me were those of boys as infant Bacchuses, Jupiters, &c. 
But the Artist is not to be blamed for the disguise. No doubt the 
parents wished to see their children deified in their lifetime. It was 
but putting a thunderbolt (instead of a squib) into young master's 
hands, and a whey-faced chit was transformed into the infant Ruler 
of Olympus, him who was afterwards to shake heaven and earth 
with his black brow. Another good boy pleased his grandmama 
with saying his prayers so well, and the blameless dotage of the 
good old woman imagined in him an adequate representative of the 
infancy of the awful prophet Samuel. But the great historical 
compositions, where the Artist was at liberty to paint from his 
own idea — the Beaufort and the Ugolino ; — why then, I must 
confess, pleading the liberty of Table-Talk for my presumption, 
that they have not left any very elevating impressions upon my 
mind. Pardon a ludicrous comparison. I know, Madam, you 
admire them both ; but placed opposite to each other as they are 
at the Gallery, as if to set the one work in competition with the 
other, they did remind me of the famous contention for the prize of 
deformity, mentioned in the 173d number of the Spectator. The 
one stares and the other grins ; but is there common dignity in 
their countenances .'' Does any thing of the history of their life 
gone by peep through the ruins of the mind in the face, like the 
unconquerable grandeur that surmounts the distortions of the Lao- 
coon .? — The figures which stand by the bed of Beaufort are indeed 
happy representations of the plain unmannered old Nobility of the 
English Historical Plays of Shakspeare ; but for any thing else, — 
give me leave to recommend these Macaroons. 

After leaving the Reynolds Gallery, where, upon the whole, I re- 
ceived a good deal of pleasure, not feeling that I had quite had my 
fill of paintings, I stumbled upon a picture in Piccadilly (No. 22, I 
think), which purports to be a portrait of Francis the First by 



TABLE-TALK IN THE EXAMINER 151 

• 

Leonardo da Vinci. Heavens, what a difference ! It is but a 
portrait as most of those I had been seeing ; but placed by them 
it would kill them, swallow them up as Moses's rod the other rods. 
Where did those old painters get their models? I see no such 
figures, not in my dreams, as this Francis, in the character, or 
rather with the attributes of John the Baptist. A more than 
mortal majesty in the brow and upon the eyehd — an arm muscular, 
beautifully formed — the long graceful massy fingers compressing, 
yet so as not to hurt, a lamb more lovely, more sweetly shrinking, 
than we can conceive that milk-white one which followed Una. The 
picture altogether looking as if it were eternal — combining the truth 
of flesh with a promise of permanence like marble. 

Leonardo, from the one or two specimens we have of him in 
England, must have been a stupendous genius. I scarce can think 
he has had his full fame — he who could paint that wonderful per- 
sonification of the Logos or third person of the Trinity, grasping 
a globe, late in the possession of Mr. Troward of Pail-Mall, where 
the hand was by the boldest licence twice as big as the truth of 
drawing warranted, yet the effect to every one that saw it, by some 
magic of genius, was confessed to be not monstrous, but miraculous 
and silencing. It could not be gainsaid. 



II.— [THE NEW ACTING] 

(1813) 

The difference of the present race of actors from those I re- 
member, seems to be, that less study is found necessary for the 
profession than was formerly j udged to be requisite. Parsons and 
Dodd must have thought a good deal before they could have 
matured such exhibitions as their Foresight and Aguecheek. We 
do not want capable actors, but their end is answered with less 
pains. The way is to get a kind of familiarity with the audience, 
to strike up a kind of personal friendship, to be " hail fellow, well 
met," with them : those excellent comedians. Bannister and Dowton, 
who had least need of these arts, have not disdained to use them. 
You see a reciprocity of greeting and goodwill between them and 
the house at first entrance. It is amazing how much carelessness of 
acting slips in by this intercourse. After all, it is a good-natured 
fault, and a great many kindly feelings are generated in the galleries 
by this process, feelings which are better than criticism. — Russell's 
Jerry Sneak appears to me to be a piece of the richest colouring 
we have on the present stage in the comic line, if, indeed, it be 
entirely comic, for its eff"ect on me, in some passages, is even 
pathetic. The innocent, good-natured tones with which Sneak 



152 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

• 

makes his ineffectual appeals to the sympathy of the hard-hearted 
and contemptuous betrayer of his honour, the Major; the slight dash 
of idiotism which the Actor contrives to throw into the part, (which 
Foote, I will venture to say, never dreamt of), but yet which has 
the happiest effect in turning what would be contempt, an ill- 
natured and heart-injuring passion, into pity and compassion ; 
are some of the nicest effects of observation, and tend to unvulgarize 
the part, if I may be allowed the expression. — For a piece of pure 
drollery, Liston's Lord Grizzle has no competitor. Comedy it is 
not, nor farce. It is neither nature, nor exaggerated nature. It 
is a creation of the actor's own. Grizzle seems a being of another 
world, such an one as Nicolaus Klimius might have seen at the 
fantastic courts of his World under the Ground. It is an abstract 
idea of court qualities, — an apotheosis of apathy. Ben Jonson's 
abstractions of courtiers in his Cynthia's Revels and Every Man 
out of his Humour, what a treat it would be to see them on the 
stage done in the same manner ! — What I most despair of is, seeing 
again a succession of such actresses as Mrs. Mattocks, Miss Pope, 
and Mrs. Jordan. This coquetting between the performer and the 
public is carried to a shocking excess by some of the Ladies who 
play the first characters in what is called genteel comedy. Instead 
of playing their pretty airs upon their lover on the stage, as Mrs. 
Abingdon or Mrs. Gibber were [was] content to do, or Mrs. Old- 
field before them, their whole artillery of charms is now directed to 
ensnare — whom ? — why, the whole audience — a thousand gentle- 
men, perhaps — for this many-headed beast they furl and unfurl 
their fan, and teach their lips to curl in smiles, and their bosoms 
exhibit such pretty instructive heavings. These personal applica- 
tions, which used to be a sort of sauce-piquant for the pert epilogue, 
now give the standing relish to the whole play. I am afraid an 
actress who should omit them would not find her account in it. I 
am sure that the very absence of this fault in Miss Kelly, and her 
judicious attention to her part, with little or no reference to the 
spectators, is one cause why her varied excellencies, though they are 
beginning to be perceived, have yet found their way more slowly 
to the approbation of the public, than they have deserved. Two or 
three more such instances would reform the stage, and drive off 
the Glovers, the Johnstons, and the St. Legers. O ! when shall we 
see a female part acted in the quiet, unappealing manner of Miss 
Pope's Miss Candour ? When shall we get rid of the Dalilahs of 
the stage ? 



TABLE-TALK IN THE EXAMINER L53 

III.— [BOOKS WITH ONE IDEA IN THEM] 

(1813) 

Dull poetry is to me far more oppressive than the same quantity 
of dullness in prose. The act of attending to the metre is perfectly 
painful where there is nothing to repay one in the thought. Of 
heavy prose I can swaUow a good dose. I do not know that I was 
ever deterred from reading through a book which I had begun, 
supposing the subject to be to my mind, except Patrick's Pilgrim. 
The freezing, appalling, petrifying dullness of that book is quite 
astounding. Yet is there one lively image in the preface, which an 
author in the present day might comfort himself by applying to 
his reviewers : " If the writer of these pages shall chance to meet 
with any that shall only study to cavil and pick a quarrel with 
him, he is prepared beforehand to take no notice of it, nor to be 
more troubled at their incivility, than a devout hermit is at the 
ugly faces which the creatures who something resemble men make 
at him as he is walking through the deserts." An amusing cata- 
logue might be made of books which contain but one good passage. 
They would be a sort of single-speech Hamiltons ; if Balaam's 
palfry might not be thought a more apt counterpart to them. 
Killigrew's play of the Parson's Wedding, which in length of massy 
dullness exceeds many books, is remarkable for one little spark of 
liveliness. The languishing fine lady of the piece exclaims most 
characteristically, upon coming in tired with walking : " I am glad 
I am come home, for I am e'en as weary with this walking. For 
God's sake, whereabouts does the pleasure of walking lie ? I swear 
I have often sought it till I was weary, and yet I could ne'er find 
it." — Charron on Wisdom, a cumbrous piece of formality, which 
Pope's eulogium lately betrayed me into the perusal of, has one 
splendid passage ; page 138, (I think) English translation. It con- 
trasts the open honours with which we invest the sword, as the 
means of putting man out of the world, with the concealing and 
retiring circumstances that accompany his introduction into it. It 
is a piece of gorgeous and happy eloquence. — What could Pope 
mean by that line, — " sage Montaigne, or more sage Charron ? " 
Montaigne is an immense treasure-house of observation, anticipat- 
ing all the discoveries of succeeding essayists. You cannot dip in 
him without being struck with the aphorism, that there is nothing 
new under the sun. All the writers on common life since him 
have done nothing but echo him. You cannot open him without 
detecting a Spectator, or starting a Rambler ; besides that his 
own character pervades the whole, and binds it sweetly together. 
Charron is a mere piece of formality, scholastic dry bones, without 
sinew or living flesh. 



154 MISCELLANEOUS PKOSE, 1798-1834 

IV.— [A SYLVAN SURPRISE] 

(1813) 

Time and place give every thing its propriety. Strolling one day 
in the Twickenham meadows, I was struck with the appearance of 
something dusky upon the grass, which my eye could not im- 
mediately reduce into a shape. Going nearer, I discovered the cause 
of the phenomenon. In the midst of the most rural scene in the 
world, the day glorious over head, the wave of Father Thames 
rippling deliciously by him, lay outstretched at his ease upon 
Nature's verdant carpet — a chimney-sweeper — 

a spot like which 

Astronomer in the sun's lucent orb 

Through his glaz'd optic tube yet never saw.J 

There is no reason in nature why a chimney-sweeper should not 
indulge a taste for rural objects, but somehow the ideas were 
discordant. It struck upon me like an inartificial discord in music. 
It was a combination of wr^sm rure, which my experience had not 
prepared me to anticipate. 

v.— [STREET CONVERSATION] 

(1813) 

It should seem almost impossible for a person to have arrived at 
the age of manhood, and never once to have heard or suspected that 
there have been people born before our times. Yet this fact I am 
obliged to conclude from the fragment of a conversation which I 
overheard between two of the lower order of Irish, who passed me 
in Holborn the other day. One of them, it seems, had appealed in 
defence of his argument to the opinions or practice of their fore- 
fathers, for I heard the other exclaim " the ancients ! who were 
they .'' " — " What ! retorted his companion, with an air of insolent 
superiority, " did you never hear of the ancients .'' did you never 
read of them ? " They had got too far for me to hear the conclu- 
sion of their extraordinary discourse ; but I have often thought that 
it would be amusing to register the sentences, and scraps of sen- 
tences, which one catches up in a day's walk about the town ; I 
mean in the way of fair and honest listening, without way-laying 
one's neighbour for more than he would be willing to communicate. 
From these flying words, with the help of a little imagination, one 
might often piece out a long conversation foregone. 



TABLE-TALK IN THE EXAMINER 155 

VI.— [A TOWN RESIDENCE] 
(1813) 

Where would a man of taste chuse his town residence, setting 
convenience out of the question ? Palace-yard, — for its contiguity 
to the Abbey, the Courts of Justice, the Sittings of Parliament, 
Whitehall, the Parks, &c., — I hold of all places in these two great 
cities of London and Westminster to be the most classical and 
eligible. Next in classicality, I should name the four Inns of Court : 
they breathe a learned and collegiate air ; and of them chiefly, 

■ those bricky towers 



The which on Thames' broad aged back doth ride, 
Where now the studious Lawyers have their bowers ; 
There whilom wont the Templar Knights to bide, 
Till they decay'd through pride — 

as Spenser describes evidently with a relish. I think he had Garden 
Court in his eye. The noble hall which stands there must have 
been built about that time. Next to the Inns of Court, Covent- 
Garden, for its rus in urbe, its wholesome scents of early fruits 
and vegetables, its tasteful church and arcades, — above all, the 
neighbouring theatres, cannot but be approved of. I do not know 
a fourth station comparable to or worthy to be named after these. 
To an antiquarian, every spot in London, or even Southwark, teems 
with historical associations, local interest. He could not chuse 
amiss. But to me, who have no such qualifying knowledge, the 
Surrey side of the water is peculiarly distasteful. It is impossible 
to connect any thing interesting with it. I never knew a man of 
taste to live, what they term, over the bridge. Observe, in this 
place I speak solely of chosen and voluntary residence. 



VII.— [GRAY'S BARD] 

(1813) 

The beard of Gray's Bard, " streaming like a meteor," had always 
struck me as an injudicious imitation of the Satanic ensign in the 
Paradise Lost, which 

- full high advanced, 



Shone like a meteor streaming to the wind : 

till the other day I met with a passage in Heywood's old play. 
The Four Prentices of London, which it is difficult to imagine 
not to be the origin of the similitude in both poets. The line 
in Italics Gray has almost verbatim adopted — 



156 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

In Sion towers hangs his victorious flag, 
Blowing defiance this way ; and it shews 
Like a red meteor in the troubled air, 
Or like a blazing comet that foretells 
The fall of princes. 

All here is noble, and as it should be. The comparison enlarges 
the thing compared without stretching it upon a violent rack, 
till it bursts with ridiculous explosion. The application of such 
gorgeous imagery to an old man's beard is of a piece with the 
Bardolfian bombast : " see you these meteors, these exhalations .'' " 
or the raptures of an Oriental lover, who should compare his 
mistress's nose to a watch-tower or a steeple. The presageful 
nature of the meteor, which makes so fine an adjunct of the simile 
in Hey wood, Milton has judiciously omitted, as less proper to his 
purpose ; but he seems not to have overlooked the beauty of it, by 
his introducing the superstition in a succeeding book — 

like a comet burn'd, 

That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge 
In th' artic sky, and from his horrid hair 
Shakes pestilence and war. 

VIII.— [AN AMERICAN WAR FOR HELEN] 

(1813) 

I have in my possession a curious volume of Latin verses, which 
I believe to be unique. It is entitled Alexandri Fultoni Scoti 
Epigrammatorum libri quinque. It purports to be printed at 
Perth, and bears date 1679. By the appellation which the author 
gives himself in the preface, hypodidasculus, I suppose him to 
have been usher at some school. It is no uncommon thing now 
a days for persons concerned in academies to affect a literary re- 
putation in the way of their trade. The " master of a seminary 
for a limited number of pupils at Islington," lately put forth an 
edition of that scarce tract, the Elegy in a Country Churchyard 
(to use his own words), with notes and head-lines ! — But to our 
author. These epigrams of Alexander Fulton, Scotchman, have 
little remarkable in them besides extreme dulness and insipidity ; 
but there is one, which, by its being marshalled in the front of the 
volume, seems to have been the darling of its parent, and for its 
exquisite flatness, and the surprising stroke of anachronism with 
which it is pointed, deserves to be rescued from oblivion. It is 
addressed, like many of the others, to a fair one : — 

Ad Mariulam suam Autor. 
Moverunt bella olim Helenas decor atque venustas 

Europen inter frugiferamque Asiam. 
Tam bona, quam tu, tam prudens, sin ilia fuisset. 

Ad lites issent Africa et America ! 



TABLE-TALK IN THE EXAMINER 167 

Which, in humble imitation of mine author's peculiar poverty of 
stile, I have ventured thus to render into EngHsh : — 

The Author to his Moggy 

For love's illustrious cause, and Helen's charms, 
All Europe and all Asia rush'd to arms. 
Had she with these thy polish'd sense combin'd, 
All Afric and America had join'd ! 

The happy idea of an American war undertaken in the cause of 
beauty ought certainly to recommend the author's memory to the 
countrymen of Madison and Jefferson ; and the bold anticipation 
of the discovery of that Continent in the time of the Trojan War 
is a flight beyond the Sibyll's books. 



IX.— [DRYDEN AND COLLIER] 

(1813) 

The different way in which the same story may be told by different 
persons was never more strikingly illustrated than by the manner 
in which the celebrated Jeremy Collier has described the effects 
of Timotheus's music upon Alexander, in the Second Part of his 
Essays. We all know how Dry den has treated the subject. Let us 
now hear his great contemporary and antagonist : — " Timotheus, 
a Grecian," says Collier, " was so great a Master, that he could make 
a Man storm and swagger like a Tempest. And then, by altering the 
Notes and the Time, he would take him down again, and sweeten his 
Humour in a trice. One Time, when Alexander was at Dinner, this 
Man play'd him a Phrygian Air : The Prince immediately rises, 
snatches up his Lance, and puts himself into a Posture of Fighting. 
And the Retreat was no sooner sounded by the Change of the Har- 
mony, but his Arms were grounded, and his Fire extinct ; and he sat 
down as orderly as if he had come from one of Aristotle's Lectures. 
I warrant you Demosthenes would have been flourishing about such 
a Business a long Hour, and may be not have done it neither. But 
Timotheus had a nearer Cut to the Soul : He could neck a Passion 
at a Stroke, and lay it Asleep. Pythagoras once met with a Parcel 
of drunken Fellows, who were likely to be troublesome enough. He 
presently orders the Musick to play Grave, and chop into a Dorian : 
Upon this, they all threw away their Garlands, and were as sober 
and as shame-faced as one would wish." — It is evident that Dryden, 
in his inspired Ode, and Collier in all this pudder of prose, meant 
the same thing. But what a work does the latter make with 
his " necking a passion at his stroke," " making a man storm and 
swagger like a tempest," and then " taking him down and sweeten- 
ing his humour in a trice." What in Dryden is " Softly sweet in 



158 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

Lydian measures," Collier calls "chopping into a Dorian." — This 
Collier was the same who, in his Biographical Dictionary, says of 
Shakespeare, that " though his genius generally was jocular, and 
inclining to festivity, yet he could when he pleased be as serious 
as any body." 

X.— PLAY-HOUSE MEMORANDA 

(1813) 

I once sat in the Pit of Drury-lane Theatre next to a blind man, 
who, I afterwards learned, was a street musician, well known about 
London. The play was Richard the Third, and it was curious to 
observe the interest which he took in every successive scene, so far 
more lively than could be perceived in any of the company around 
him. At those pathetic interviews between the Queen and Duchess 
of York, after the murder of the children, his eyes (or rather the 
places where eyes should have been) gushed out tears in torrents, 
and he sat intranced in attention, while every one about him was 
tittering, partly at him, and partly at the grotesque figures and 
wretched action of the women, who had been selected by managerial 
taste to personate those royal mourners. Having no drawback of 
sight to impair his sensibilities, he simply attended to the scene, 
and received its unsophisticated impression. So much the rather 
her celestial light shone inward. I was pleased with an observa- 
tion which he made, when I asked him how he liked Kemble, who 
played Richard. I should have thought (said he) that that man 
had been reading something out of a book, if I had not known that 
I was in a play-house. 

I was once amused in a diiferent way by a knot of country people 
who had come to see a play at that same Theatre. They seemed 
perfectly inattentive to all the best performers for the first act or 
two, though the piece was admirably played, but kept poring in 
the play-bill, and were evidently watching for the appearance of 
one, who was to be the source of supreme delight to them that 
night. At length the expected actor arrived, who happened to be 
in possession of a very insignificant part, not much above a mule 
\? mute]. I saw their faint attempt at raising a clap on his appearance, 
and their disappointment at not being seconded by the audience in 
general. I saw them try to admire and to find out something very 
wonderful in him, and wondering all the while at the moderate 
sensation he produced. I saw their pleasure and their interest 
subside at last into flat mortification, when the riddle was at once 
unfolded by my recollecting that this performer bore the same name 
with an actor, then in the acme of his celebrity, at Covent-G-arden, 
but who lately finished his theatrical and mortal career on the 



TABLE-TALK IN THE EXAMINER 159 

other side the Atlantic. They had come to see Mr. C — , but 
had come to the wrong house. 

Is it a stale remark to say, that I have constantly found the 
interest excited at a play-house to bear an exact inverse proportion 
to the price paid for admission. Formerly, when my sight and 
hearing were more perfect, and my purse a little less so, I was a 
frequenter of the upper gallery in the old Theatres. The eager 
attention, the breathless listening, the anxiety not to lose a word, 
the quick anticipation of the significance of the scene (every sense 
kept as it were upon a sharp look out), which are exhibited by the 
occupiers of those higher and now almost out-of-sight regions (who, 
going seldom to a play, cannot afford to lose any thing by inatten- 
tion), suffer some little diminution, as you descend to the lower or 
two-shilling ranks ; but still the j oy is lively and unallayed, save [that] 
by some little incursion ot manners, the expression of it is expected 
to abate somewhat of its natural liveliness. The oaken plaudits 
of ;the trunkmaker would here be considered as going a little 
beyond the line. — In the pit first begins that accursed critical 
faculty, which, making a man the judge of his own pleasures, too 
often constitutes him the executioner of his own and others ! You 
may see the jealousy of being unduly pleased, the suspicion of 
being taken in to admire ; in short, the vile critical spirit, creep- 
ing and diffusing itself, and spreading from the wrinkled brows and 
cloudy eyes of the front row sages and newspaper reporters (its 
proper residence), till it infects and clouds over the thoughtless, 
vaxiant countenance, of John Bull tradesmen, and clerks of counting- 
houses, who, but for that approximation, would have been contented 
to have grinned without rule, and to have been pleased without 
asking why. The sitting next a critic is contagious. Still now and 
then, a genuine spectator is to be found among them, a shopkeeper 
and his family, whose honest titillations of mirth, and generous 
chucklings of applause, cannot wait or be at leisure to take the cue 
from the sour judging faces about them. Haply they never dreamed 
that there were such animals in nature as critics or reviewers ; even 
the idea of an author may be a speculation they never entered into ; 
but they take the mirth they find as a pure effusion of the actor- 
folks, set there on purpose to make them fun. I love the unenquiring 
gratitude of such spectators. As for the Boxes, I never can under- 
stand what brings the people there. I see such frigid indifference, 
such unconcerned spectatorship, such impenetrability to pleasure or 
its contrary, such being in the house and yet not of it, certainly 
they come far nearer the nature of the Gods, upon the system of 
Lucretius at least, than those honest, hearty, well-pleased, unin- 
different mortals above, who, from time immemorial, have had that 
name, upon no other ground than situation, assigned them. 



160 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

Take the play-house altogether, there is a less sum of enjoyment 
than used to be. Formerly you might see something like the effect 
of a novelty upon a citizen, his wife and daughters, in the Pit ; their 
curiosity upon every new face that entered upon the stage. The 
talk of how they got in at the door, and how they were crowded 
upon some former occasion, made a topic till the curtain drew up. 
People go too often now-a-days to make their ingress or egress of 
consequence. Children of seven years of age will talk as familiarly 
of the performers, aye and as knowingly (according to the received 
opinion) as grown persons ; more than the grown persons in my 
time. Oh when shall I forget first seeing a play, at the age of five 
or six ? It was Artaxerxes. Who played, or who sang in it, I 
know not. Such low ideas as actors' names, or actors' merits, never 
entered my head. The mystery of delight was not cut open and 
dissipated for me by those who took me there. It was Artaxerxes 
and Arbaces and Mandane that I saw, not Mr. Beard, or Mr. Leoni, 
or Mrs. Kennedy. It was all enchantment and a dream. No such 
pleasure has since visited me but in dreams. I was in Persia for the 
time, and the burning idol of their devotion in the Temple almost 
converted me into a worshipper. I was awe-struck, and believed 
those significations to be something more than elemental fires. I 
was, with Uriel, in the body of the sun. — What should I have gained 
by knowing (as I should have done, had I been born thirty years 
later) that that solar representation was a mere painted scene, that ■ 
had neither fire nor light in itself, and that the royal phantoms, 
which passed in review before me, were but such common mortals as 
I could see every day out of my father's window ? We crush the 
faculty of delight and wonder in children, by explaining every thing. 
We take them to the source of the Nile, and shew them the scanty 
runnings, instead of letting the beginnings of that seven fold stream 
remain in impenetrable darkness, a mysterious question of wonder- 
ment and delight to ages. 



REVIEW OF THE EXCURSION; A POEM 

By WILLIAM WORDSWORTH. London. 4to. pp. 447 
(1814) 

THE volume before us, as we learn from the Preface, is "a 
detached portion of an unfinished poem, containing views 
of man, nature, and society;" to be called the Recluse, as having 



EEVIEW OF THE EXCURSION 161 

for its principal subject the "sensations and opinions of a poet 
living in retirement ; " and to be preceded by a " record in verse 
of the origin and progress of the author's own powers, with refer- 
ence to the fitness which they may be supposed to have conferred 
for the task." To the completion of this plan we look forward 
with a confidence which the execution of the finished part is well 
calculated to inspire. — Meanwhile, in what is before us there is 
ample matter for entertainment : for the " Excursion " is not a 
branch (as might have been suspected) prematurely plucked from 
the parent tree to gratify an overhasty appetite for applause ; but 
is, in itself, a complete and legitimate production. 

It opens with the meeting of the poet with an aged man whom 
he had known from his school days ; in plain words, a Scottish 
pedlar; a man who, though of low origin, had received good 
learning and impressions of the strictest piety from his stepfather, 
a minister and village schoolmaster. Among the hills of Athol, 
the child is described to have become familiar with the appearances 
of nature in his occupation as a feeder of sheep ; and from her 
silent influences to have derived a character, meditative, tender, 
and poetical. With an imagination and feelings thus nourished 
— his intellect not unaided by books, but those, few, and chiefly 
of a religious cast — the necessity of seeking a maintenance in riper 
years, had induced him to make choice of a profession, the appella- 
tion for which has been gradually declining into contempt, but 
which formerly designated a class of men, who, journeying in 
country places, when roads presented less facilities for travelling, 
and the intercourse between towns and villages was unfrequent and 
hazardous, became a sort of link of neighbourhood to distant 
habitations ; resembling, in some small measure, in the effects of 
their periodical returns, the caravan which Thomson so feelingly 
describes as blessing the cheerless Siberian in its annual visitation, 
with " news of human kind." 

In the solitude incident to this rambling life, power had been 
given him to keep alive that devotedness to nature which he had 
imbibed in his childhood, together with the opportunity of gain- 
ing such notices of persons and things from his intercourse with 
society, as qualified him to become a " teacher of moral wisdom." 
With this man, then, in a hale old age, released from the burthen 
of his occupation, yet retaining much of its active habits, the poet 
meets, and is by him introduced to a second character — a sceptic 
— one who had been partially roused from an overwhelming desola- 
tion, brought upon him by the loss of wife and children, by the 
powerful incitement of hope which the French Revolution in its 
commencement put forth, but who, disgusted with the failure of 
all its promises, had fallen back into a laxity of faith and conduct 
VOL. I. — 11 



162 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

which induced at length a total despondence as to the dignity and 
final destination of his species. In the language of the poet, he 

broke faith with those whom he had laid 

In earth's dark chambers, 

Yet he describes himself as subject to compunctious visitations 
from that silent quarter. 

-Feebly must They have felt, 



Who, in old time, attired with snakes and whips 
The vengeful Furies. Beautiful regards 
Were turned on me — the face of her I loved ; 
The Wife and Mother ; pitifully fixing 
Tender reproaches, insupportable ! — p. 133. 

The conversations with this person, in which the Wanderer 
asserts the consolatory side of the question against the darker 
views of human life maintained by his friend, and finally calls 
to his assistance the experience of a village priest, the third, or 
rather fourth interlocutor, (for the poet himself is one,) form the 
groundwork of the "Excursion." 

It will be seen by this sketch that the poem is of a didactic 
nature, and not a fable or story ; yet it is not wanting in stories 
of the most interesting kind, — such as the lovers of Cowper and 
Goldsmith will recognise as something familiar and congenial to 
them. We might instance the Ruined Cottage, and the Solitary's 
own story, in the first half of the work ; and the second half, as 
being almost a continued cluster of narration. But the prevailing 
charm of the poem is, perhaps, that, conversational as it is in its 
plan, the dialogue throughout is carried on in the very heart of 
the most romantic scenery which the poet's native hills could 
supply ; and which, by the perpetual references made to it either in 
the way of illustration or for variety and pleasurable description's 
sake, is brought before us as we read. We breathe in the fresh 
air, as we do while reading Walton's Complete Angler ; only the 
country about us is as much bolder than Walton's, as the thoughts 
and speculations, which form the matter of the poem, exceed the 
trifling pastime and low-pitched conversation of his humble fisher- 
men. We give the description of the "two huge peaks," which 
from some other vale peered into that in which the Solitary is 
entertaining the poet and companion. " Those," says their host, 

-if here you dwelt, would be 



Your prized Companions. — Many are the notes 

Which in his tuneful course the wind draws forth 

From rocks, woods, caverns, heaths, and dashing shores ; 

And well those lofty Brethren bear their part 

In the wild concert^-chiefly when the storm 

Rides high ; then all the upper air they fill 

With roaring sound, that ceases not to flow. 



KEVIEW OF THE EXCURSION 163 

Like smoke, along the level of the blast 

In mighty current ; theirs, too, is the song 

Of stream and headlong flood that seldom fails ; 

And in the grim and breathless hour of noon, 

Methinks that I have heard them echo back 

The thunder's greeting : — nor have Nature's laws 

Left them ungifted with a power to yield 

Music of finer frame ; a harmony. 

So do I call it, though it be the hand 

Of silence, though there be no voice ; — the clouds, 

The mist, the shadows, light of golden suns. 

Motions of moonlight, all come thither — touch. 

And have an answer — thither come, and shape 

A language not unwelcome to sick hearts 

And idle spirits : — there the sun himself 

At the calm close of summer's longest day 

Rests his substantial Orb ; — ^between those heights 

And on the top of either pinnacle. 

More keenly than elsewhere in night's blue vault. 

Sparkle the Stars as of their station proud. 

Thoughts are not busier in the mind of man 

Than the mute agent stirring there : — alone 

Here do I sit and watch. — p. 84. 

To a mind constituted like that of Mr. Wordsworth, the stream, 
the torrent, and the stirring leaf — seem not merely to suggest 
associations of deity, but to be a kind of speaking communication 
with it. He walks through every forest, as through some Dodona ; 
and every bird that flits among the leaves, like that miraculous 
one ^ in Tasso, but in language more intelligent, reveals to him 
far higher love-lays. In his poetry nothing in Nature is dead. 
Motion is synonymous with life. " Beside yon spring," says the 
Wanderer, speaking of a deserted well, from which, in former 
times, a poor woman, who died heart-broken, had been used to 
dispense refreshment to the thirsty traveller, 

-beside yon Spring I stood, 



And eyed its waters till we seem'd to feel 
One sadness, they and \. For them a bond 
Of brotherhood is broken : time has been 
When, every day, the touch of human hand 
Dislodged the natural sleep that binds them up 
In mortal stillness ; — p. 27. 

To such a mind, we say — call it strength or weakness — if weak- 
ness, assuredly a fortunate one — the visible and audible things of 
creation present, not dim symbols, or curious emblems, which they 

1 With partie coloured plumes and purple bill, 
A woondrous bird among the rest there flew. 
That in plaine speech sung love laies loud and shrill. 
Her leden was like humaine language trew. 
So much she talkt, and with such wit and skill. 
That strange it seemed how much good she knew. 

Fairefax's Translation [Book 16, Stanza 13], 



164 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

have done at all times to those who have been gifted with the 
poetical faculty ; but revelations and quick insights into the life 
within us, the pledge of immortality : — 

-the whispering Air 



Sends inspiration from the shadowy heights, 
And blind recesses of the caverned rocks ; 
The httle Rills, and Waters numberless. 
Inaudible by day- light, 

" I have seen," the poet says, and the illustration is an happy 
one : 

1 have seen 

A curious Child [who dwelt upon a tract 

Of inland ground], applying to his ear 

The convolutions of a smooth-lipp'd Shell ; 

To which, in silence hushed, his very soul 

Listened intensely, and his countenance soon 

Brightened with joy ; for murmurings from within 

Were heard, — sonorous cadences ! whereby. 

To his belief, the Monitor expressed 

Mysterious union with its native Sea. 

Even such a Shell the Universe itself 

Is to the ear of Faith ; and [there are times, 

I doubt not, when to you it] doth impart 

Authentic tidings of invisible things ; 

Of ebb and flow, and ever during power ; 

And central peace subsisting at the heart 

Of endless agitation.— p. igi. 

Sometimes this harmony is imaged to us by an echo ; and in one 
instance, it is with such transcendant beauty set forth by a shadow 
and its corresponding substance, that it would be a sin to cheat 
our readers at once of so happy an illustration of the poet's system, 
and so fair a proof of his descriptive powers. 

Thus having reached a bridge, that overarched 

The hasty rivulet where it lay becalmed 

In a deep pool, by happy chance we saw 

A two-fold Image ; on a grassy bank 

A snow-white Ram, and in the crystal flood 

Another and the same ! Most beautiful, 

On the green turf, with his imperial front 

Shaggy and bold, and wreathed horns superb, 

The breathing Creature stood ; as beautiful. 

Beneath him, shewed his shadowy Counterpart. 

Each had his glowing mountains, each his sky. 

And each seemed centre of his own fair world ; 

Antipodes unconscious of each other. 

Yet, in partition, with their several spheres, 

Blended in perfect stillness, to our sight ! — p. 407. 

Combinations, it is confessed, " like those reflected in thnt quiet 
pool," cannot be lasting : it is enough for the puipo.se of the poet, 
if they are felt. — They are at least his system ; and his readers, if 
they reject them for their creed, may receive them merely as poetry. 
In him, faith, in friendly alliance and conjunction with the elaion 



REVIEW OF THE EXCURSION 165 

of his country, appears to have grown up, fostered by meditation 
and lonely communions with Nature — an internal principle of lofty 
consciousness, which stamps upon his opinions and sentiments (we 
were almost going to say) the character of an expanded and gener- 
ous Quakerism. 

From such a creed we should expect unusual results ; and, when 
applied to the purposes of consolation, more touching considerations 
than from the mouth of common teachers. The finest speculation 
of this sort perhaps in the poem before us, is the notion of the 
thoughts which may sustain the spirit, while they crush the frame 
of the sufferer, who from loss of objects of love by death, is 
commonly supposed to pine away under a broken heart. 

If there be whose tender frames have drooped 

Even to the dust ; apparently, through weight 

Of anguish unreheved, and lack of power 

An agonizing spirit to transmute, 

Infer not hence a hope from those withheld 

When wanted most ; a confidence impaired 

So pitiably, that, having ceased to see 

With bodily eyes, they are borne down by love 

Of what is lost, and perish through regret. 

Oh I no, full oft the innocent Sufferer sees 

Too clearly ; feels too vividly ; and longs 

To realize the Vision with intense 

And overconstant yearning — there — there lies 

The excess, by which the balance is destroyed. 

Too, too contracted are these walls of flesh, 

This vita! warmth too cold, these visual orbs, 

Though inconceivably endowed, too dim 

For any passion of the soul that leads 

To extacy ; and, all the crooked paths 

Of time and change disdaining, takes its course 

Along the line of limitless desires. — p. 148. 

With the same modifying and incerporating power, he tells us, — 

Within the soul a Faculty abides, 

That with interpositions, which would hide 

And darken, so can deal, that they become 

Contingencies of pomp ; and serve to exalt 

Her native brightness. As the ample Moon, 

In the deep stillness of a summer even 

Rising behind a thick and lofty Grove, 

Burns like an unconsuming fire of light. 

In the green trees ; and, kindling on all sides 

Their leafy umbrage, turns the dusky veil 

Into a substance glorious as her own, 

Yea with her own incorporated, by power 

Capacious and serene. Like power abides 

In Man's celestial Spirit ; Virtue thus 

Sets forth and magnifies herself; thus feeds 

A calm, a beautiful, and silent fire. 

From the incumbrances of mortal life. 

From error, disappointment, — nay from guilt ; 

And sometimes, so relenting Justice wills, 

From palpable oppressions of Despair. — p. 188. 



166 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

This is high poetry ; though (as we have ventured to lay the basis 
of the author's sentiments in a sort of liberal Quakerism) from some 
parts of it, others may, with more plausibility, object to the appear- 
ance of a kind of Natural Methodism : we could have wished there- 
fore that the tale of Margaret had been postponed, till the reader 
had been strengthened by some previous acquaintance with the 
author's theory, and not placed in the front of the poem, with a 
kind of ominous aspect, beautifully tender as it is. It is a tale of a 
cottage, and its female tenant, gradually decaying together, while 
she expected the return of one whom poverty and not unkindness 
had driven from her arms. We trust ourselves only with the 
conclusion — 

Nine tedious years ; 
From their first separation, nine long years, 
She Ungered in unquiet widowhood, 
A Wife and Widow. [Needs must it have been 
A sore heart-wasting !] I have heard, my Friend, 
That in yon arbour oftentimes she sate 
Alone, through half the vacant Sabbath-day ; 
And if a dog passed by she still would quit 
The shade, and look abroad. On this old Bench 
For hours she sate ; and evermore her eye 
Was busy in the distance, shaping things 
That made her heart beat quick. You see that path, 
[Now faint, — the grass has crept o'er its grey line ;] 
There, to and fro, she paced through many a day 
Of the warm summer, from a belt of hemp 
That girt her waist, spinning the long drawn thread 
With backward steps. Yet ever as there pass'd 
A man whose garments shew'd the Soldier's ^ red, 
[Or crippled Mendicant in Sailor's garb], 
The little Child who sate to turn the wheel 
Ceas'd from his task ; and she with faultering voice 
Made many a fond enquiry ; and when they. 
Whose presence gave no comfort, were gone by. 
Her heart was still more sad. And by yon gate. 
That bars the Traveller's road, she often stood, 
And when a stranger Horseman came the latch 
Would lift, and in his face look wistfully ; 
Most happy, if, from aught discovered there 
Of tender feeling, she might dare repeat 
The same sad question. Meanwhile her poor Hut 
Sank to decay : for he was gone — whose hand, 
At the first nipping of October frost. 
Closed up each chink, and with fresh bands of straw 
Checquered the green-grown thatch. And so she lived 
Through the long winter, reckless and alone ; 
Until her house by frost, and thaw, and rain. 
Was sapped ; and while she slept the nightly damps 
Did chill her breast ; and in the stormy day 
Her tattered clothes were ruffled by the wind ; 
Even at the side of her own fire. Yet still 
She loved this wretched spot, nor would for worlds 

' Her husband had enlisted for a soldier. 



EEVIEW OF IHE EXCURSION 167 

Have parted hence : and still that length of road, 
And this rude bench, one torturing hope endeared, 
Fast rooted at her heart : and here, my Friend, 
In sickness she remained ; and here she died. 
Last human Tenant of these ruined Walls. — p. 44. 

The fourth book, entitled " Despondency Corrected," we consider 
as the most valuable portion of the poem. For moral grandeur ; 
for wide scope of thought and a long train of lofty imagery ; for 
tender personal appeals ; and a versification which we feel we 
ought to notice, but feel it also so involved in the poetry, that we 
can hardly mention it as a distinct excellence ; it stands without 
competition among our didactic and descriptive verse. The general 
tendency of the argument (which we might almost afSrm to be the 
leading moral of the poem) is to abate the pride of the calculating 
understanding, and to reinstate the imagination and the affec- 
tions in those seats from which modern philosophy has laboured but 
too successfully to expel them. 

" Life's autumn past," says the grey-haired Wanderer, 

• I stand on Winter's verge. 



And daily lose what I desire to keep ; 

Yet rather would I instantly decline 

To the traditionary sympathies 

Of a most rustic ignorance, and take 

A fearful apprehension from the owl 

Or death-watch, — and as readily rejoice. 

If two auspicious magpies crossed my way ; 

This rather would I do than see and hear 

The repetitions wearisome of sense. 

Where soul is dead, and feeling hath no place; — p. 168. 

In the same spirit, those illusions of the imaginative faculty to 
which the peasantry in solitary districts are peculiarly subject, are 
represented as the kindly ministers of conscience : 

— with whose service charged 

They come and go, appear and disappear ; 
Diverting evil purposes, remorse 
Awakening, chastening an intemperate grief. 
Or pride of heart abating : 

Reverting to more distant ages of the world, the operation of 
that same faculty in producing the several fictions of Chaldean, 
Persian, and Grecian idolatory, is described with such seductive 
power, that the Solitary, in good earnest, seems alarmed at the 
tendency of his own argument. — Notwithstanding his fears, how- 
ever, there is one thought so uncommonly fine, relative to the 
spirituality which lay hid beneath the gross material forms of Greek 
worship, in metal or stone, that we cannot resist the allurement of 
transcribing it — 

• triumphant o'er this pompous show 



Of Art, this palpable array of Sense, 
On every side encountered ; in despite 



168 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

Of the gross fictions, chaunted in the streets 
By wandering Rhapsodists ; and in contempt 
Of doubt and bold denials hourly urged 
Amid the wrangling Schools — a spirit hung, 
Beautiful Region ! o'er thy Towns and Farms, 
Statues and Temples, and memorial Tombs ; 
And emanations were perceived ; and acts 
Of immortality, in Nature's course. 
Exemplified by mysteries, that were felt 
As bonds, on grave Philosopher imposed 
And armed Warrior ; and in every grove 
A gay or pensive tenderness prevailed 
When piety more avrful had relaxed. 

" Take, running River, take these Locks of mine " — 
Thus would the Votary say — " this severed hair. 
My Vow fulfilling, do I here present, 
Thankful for my beloved Child's return. 
Thy banks, Cephissus, he again hath trod, 
Thy murmurs heard ; and drunk the chrystal lymph 
With which thou dost refresh the thirsty lip, 
And moisten all day long these flowery fields." 
And doubtless, sometimes, when the hair was shed 
Upon the flowing stream, a thought arose 
Of Life continuous. Being unimpaired ; 
That hath been, is, and where it was and is 
There shall be, — seen, and heard, and felt, and known. 
And recognized, — existence unexposed 
To the blind walk of mortal accident ; 
From diminution safe and weakening age ; 
While Man grows old, and dwindles, and decays ; 
And countless generations of Mankind 
Depart; and leave no vestige where they trod. — p. 173. 

In discourse like this the first day passes away. — The second (for 
this almost dramatic poem takes up the action of two summer days) 
is varied by the introduction of the village priest ; to whom the 
Wanderer resigns the office of chief speaker, which had been yielded 
to his age and experience on the first. The conference is begun at 
the gate of the church-yard ; and after some natural speculations 
concerning death and immortality — and the custom of funereal and 
sepulchral observances, as deduced from a feeling of immortality — 
certain doubts are proposed respecting the quantity of moral worth 
existing in the world, and in that mountainous district in particular. 
In the resolution of these doubts, the priest enters upon a most 
affecting and singular strain of narration, derived from the graves 
around him. Pointing to hillock after hillock, he gives short his- 
tories of their tenants, disclosing their humble virtues, and touching 
with tender hand upon their frailties. 

Nothing can be conceived finer than the manner of introducing 
these tales. With heaven above his head, and the mouldering turf 
at his feet — standing betwixt life and death — he seems to maintain 
that spiritual relation which he bore to his living flock, in its un- 
diminished strength, even with their ashes ; and to be in his proper 
cure, or diocese, among the dead. 



REVIEW OF THE EXCURSION 169 

We might extract powerful instances of pathos from these tales — 
the story of Ellen in pai-ticular — but their force is in combination, 
and in the circumstances under which they are introduced. The 
traditionary anecdote of the Jacobite and Hanoverian, as less liable 
to suffer by transplanting, and as affording an instance of that finer 
species of humour, that thoughtful playfulness in which the author 
more nearly perhaps than in any other quality resembles Cowper, 
we shall lay (at least a part of it) before our readers. It is the story 
of a whig who, having wasted a large estate in election contests, 
retired " beneath a borrowed name " to a small town among these 
northern mountains, where a Caledonian laird, a follower of the 
house of Stuart, who had fled his country after the overthrow at 
Culloden, returning with the return of lenient times, had also fixed 
his residence. 

Here, then, they met. 



Two doughty Champions ; flaming Jacobite 
And sullen Hanoverian ! you might think 
That losses and vexations, less severe 
Than those which they had severally sustained, 
Would have inclined each to abate his zeal 
For his ungrateful cause ; no, — I have heard 
My reverend Father tell that, mid the calm 
Of that small Town encountering thus, they filled, 
Daily its Bowling-green with harmless strife ; 
Plagued with uncharitable thoughts the Church ; 
And vexed the Market-place. But in the breasts 
Of these Opponents gradually was wrought. 
With little change of general sentiment, 
Such change towards each other, that their days 
By choice were spent in constant fellowship ; 
And if, at times, they fretted with the yoke. 
Those very bickerings made them love it more. 

A favourite boundary to their lengthened walks 
This Church-yard was. And, whether they had come 
Treading their path in sympathy and linked 
In social converse, or by some short space 
Discreetly parted to preserve the peace. 
One Spirit seldom failed to extend its sway 
Over both minds, when they awhile had marked 
The visible quiet of this holy ground 

And breathed its soothing air ; 

\^Seven lines omitted']. 

— There live who yet remember to have seen 

Their courtly Figures, — seated on a stump 

Of an old Yew, their favourite resting-place. 

But, as the Remnant of the long-lived Tree 

Was disappearing by a swift decay. 

They, with joint care, determined to erect, 

Upon its site, a Dial, which should stand 

For public use ; and also might survive 

As their own private monument ; for this 

Was the particular spot, in which they wished 

(And Heaven was pleased to accomplish their desire) 



170 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

That, undivided, their Remains should lie. 

So, where the mouldered Tree had stood, was raised 

Yon Structure, framing, with the ascent of steps 

That to the decorated Pillar lead, 

A work of art, more sumptuous, as might seem. 

Than suits this Place ; yet built in no proud scorn 

Of rustic homeliness ; they only aimed 

To ensure for it respectful guardianship. 

Around the margin of the Plate, whereon 

The Shadow falls, to note the stealthy hours. 

Winds an inscriptive Legend, At these words 

Thither we turned ; and gathered, as we read. 

The appropriate sense, in Latin numbers couched. 

" Time flies ; it is his melancholy task 

To bring, and bear away, delusive hopes. 

And re-produce the troubles he destroys. 

But, while his blindness thus is occupied, 

Discerning Mortal ! do thou serve the will 

Of Time's eternal Master, and that peace. 

Which the World wants, shall be for Thee confirmed." — pp. 270-3. 

The causes which have prevented the poetry of Mr. Wordsworth 
from attaining its full share of popularity are to be found in the 
boldness and originality of his genius. The times are past when 
a poet could securely follow the direction of his own mind into 
whatever tracts it might lead. A writer, who would be popular, 
must timidly coast the shore of prescribed sentiment and sympathy. 
He must have just as much more of the imaginative faculty than 
his readers, as will serve to keep their apprehensions from stagnat- 
ing, but not so much as to alarm their jealousy. He must not 
think or feel too deeply. 

If he has had the fortune to be bred in the midst of the most 
magnificent objects of creation, he must not have given away his 
heart to them ; or if he have, he must conceal his love, or not carry 
his expressions of it beyond that point of rapture, which the 
occasional tourist thinks it not overstepping decorum to betray, 
or the limit which that gentlemanly spy upon Nature, the pic- 
turesque traveller, has vouchsafed to countenance. He must do 
this, or be content to be thought an enthusiast. 

If from living among simple mountaineers, from a daily inter- 
course with them, not upon the footing of a patron, but in the 
character of an equal, he has detected, or imagines that he has 
detected, through the cloudy medium of their unlettered discourse, 
thoughts and apprehensions not vulgar ; traits of patience and 
constancy, love unwearied, and heroic endurance, not unfit (as he 
may judge) to be made the subject of verse, he will be deemed a 
man of perverted genius by the philanthropist who, conceiving 
of the peasantry of his country only as objects of a pecuniary 
sympathy, starts at finding them elevated to a level of humanity 
with himself, having their own loves, enmities, cravings, aspira- 



EEVIEW OF THE EXCURSION 171 

tions, &c., as much beyond his faculty to believe, as his beneficence 
to supply. 

If from a familiar observation of the ways of children, and 
much more from a retrospect of his own mind when a child, he 
has gathered more reverential notions of that state than fall to 
the lot of ordinary observers, and, escaping from the dissonant 
wranglings of men, has tuned his lyre, though but for occasional 
harmonies, to the milder utterance of that soft age, — his verses 
shall be censured as infantile by critics who confound poetry 
"having children for its subject" with poetry that is "childish," 
and who, having themselves perhaps never been children, never 
having possessed the tenderness and docility of that age, know not 
what the soul of a child is — how apprehensive ! how imaginative ! 
how religious ! 

We have touched upon some of the causes which we conceive to 
have been unfriendly to the author's former poems. We think 
they do not apply in the same force to the one before us. There 
is in it more of uniform elevation, a wider scope of subject, less 
of manner, and it contains none of those starts and imperfect 
shapings which in some of this author's smaller pieces offended the 
weak, and gave scandal to the perverse. It must indeed be ap- 
proached with seriousness. It has in it much of that quality which 
"draws the devout, deterring the profane." Those who hate the 
Paradise Lost will not love this poem. The steps of the great 
master are discernible in it; not in direct imitation or injurious 
parody, but in the following of the spirit, in free homage and 
generous subjection. 

One objection it is impossible not to foresee. It will be asked, 
why put such eloquent discourse in the mouth of a pedlar ? It 
might be answered that Mr. Wordsworth's plan required a char- 
acter in humble life to be the organ of his philosophy. It was in 
harmony with the system and scenery of his poem. We read Piers 
Plowman's Creed, and the lowness of the teacher seems to add a 
simple dignity to the doctrine. Besides, the poet has bestowed 
an unusual share of education upon him. Is it too much to 
suppose that the author, at some early period of his life, may 
himself have known such a person, a man endowed with sentiments 
above his situation, another Burns ; and that the dignified strains 
which he has attributed to the Wanderer may be no more than 
recollections of his conversation, heightened only by the amplification 
natural to poetry, or the lustre which imagination flings back upon 
the objects and companions of our youth ? After all, if there 
should be found readers willing to admire the poem, who yet feel 
scandalized at a name, we would advise them, wherever it occurs, 
to substitute silently the word Palmer, or Pilgrim,, or any less 



172 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

offensive designation, which shall connect the notion of sobriety 
in heart and manners with the experience and privileges which a 
wayfaring life confers. 



ON THE MELANCHOLY OF TAILORS 

(1814. Text of 1818) 

Sedet, seternumque sedebit, 
Infelix Theseus. Virgil. 

THAT there is a professional melancholy, if I may so express 
myself, incident to the occupation of a tailor, is a fact which 
I think very few will venture to dispute. I may safely appeal to 
my readers, whether they ever knew one of that faculty that was 
not of a temperament, to say the least, far removed from mercurial 
or jovial. 

Observe the suspicious gravity of their gait. The peacock is not 
more tender, from a consciousness of his peculiar infirmity, than 
a gentleman of this profession is of being known by the same 
infallible testimonies of his occupation. " Walk, that I may know 
thee." 

Do you ever see him go whistling along the foot-path like a car- 
man, or brush through a crowd like a baker, or go smiling to 
himself like a lover ? Is he forward to thrust into mobs, or to 
make one at the ballad-singer's audiences ? Does he not rather 
slink by assemblies and meetings of the people, as one that wisely 
declines popular observation ? 

How extremely rare is a noisy tailor ! a mirthful and obstreper- 
ous tailor ! 

" At my nativity," says Sir Thomas Browne, " my ascendant was 
the earthly sign of Scorpius ; I was born in the planetary hour 
of Saturn, and I think I have a piece of that leaden planet in me." 
One would think that he were anatomizing a tailor ! save that to 
the latter's occupation, methinks, a woollen planet would seem more 
consonant, and that he should be born when the sun was in Aries. 
— He goes on. " I am no way facetious, nor disposed for the mirth 
and galliardize of company." How true a type of the whole trade ! 
Eminently economical of his words, you shall seldom hear a jest 
come from one of them. He sometimes furnishes subject for a 
repartee, but rarely (I think) contributes one ore propria. 



ON THE MELANCHOLY OF TAILORS 173 

Drink itself does not seem to elevate him, or at least to call 
out of him any of the external indications of vanity. I cannot say 
that it never causes his pride to swell, but it never breaks out. I 
am even fearful that it may swell and rankle to an alarming degree 
inwardly. For pride is near of kin to melancholy; — a hurtful 
obstruction from the ordinary outlets of vanity being shut. It is 
this stoppage which engenders proud humours. Therefore a tailor 
may be proud. I think he is never vain. The display of his gaudy 
patterns in that book of his which emulates the rainbow, never 
raises any inflations of that emotion in him, corresponding to what 
the wig-maker (for instance) evinces, when he expatiates on a curl 
or a bit of hair. He spreads them forth with a sullen incapacity 
for pleasure, a real or affected indifference to grandeur. Cloth of 
gold neither seems to elate, nor cloth of frize to depress him — 
according to the beautiful motto which formed the modest impresse 
of the shield worn by Charles Brandon at his marriage with the 
king's sister. Nay, I doubt whether he would discover any vain- 
glorious complacence in his colours, though " Iris " herself " dipt 
the woof" 

In further corroboration of this argument — who ever saw the 
wedding of a tailor announced in the newspapers, or the birth of 
his eldest son ? 

When was a tailor known to give a dance, or to be himself a 
good dancer, or to perform exquisitely on the tight rope, or to 
shine in any such light and airy pastimes ? to sing, or play on the 
violin ? 

Do they much care for public rejoicings, lightings up, ringing of 
bells, firing of cannons, &c. ? 

Valiant I know they can be ; but I appeal to those who were 
witnesses to the exploits of Eliot's famous troop, whether in their 
fiercest charges they betrayed any thing of that thoughtless oblivion 
of death with which a Frenchman jigs into battle, or whether they 
did not shew more of the melancholy valour of the Spaniard, upon 
whom they charged ; that deliberate courage which contemplation 
and sedentary habits breathe ? 

Are they often great newsmongers .'' — I have known some few 
among them arrive at the dignity of speculative politicians ; but 
that light and cheerful every-day interest in the affairs and goings- 
on of the world, which makes the barber ^ such delightful company, 
I think is rarely observable in them. 

^ Having incidentally mentioned the barber, in a comparison of professional 
temperaments, I hope no other trade will take offence, or look upon it as an in- 
civility done to them, if I say, that in courtesy, humanity, and all the conversational 
and social graces which " gladden life," I esteem no profession comparable to his. 
Indeed so great is the good-will which I bear to this useful and agreeable body of 



174 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

This characteristic pensiveness in them being so notorious,! wonder 
none of those writers, who have expressly treated of melancholy, 
should have mentioned it. Burton, whose book is an excellent 
abstract of all the authors in that kind who preceded him, and who 
treats of every species of this malady, from the hypochondriacal 
or windy to the heroical or love melancholy, has strangely 
omitted it. Shakspeare himself has overlooked it. " I have neither 
the scholar's melancholy (saith Jaques) which is emulation ; nor 
the courtier's, which is proud ; nor ^the soldier's, which is politick ; 
nor the lover's, which is all these : " — and then, when you might 
expect him to have brought in, " nor the tailor's, which is so and 
so " — he comes to an end of his enumeration, and falls to a defining 
of his own melancholy. 

Milton likewise has omitted it, where he had so fair an oppor- 
tunity of bringing it in, in his Penseroso. 

But the partial omissions of historians proving nothing against 
the existence of any well-attested fact, I shall proceed and endeavour 
to ascertain the causes why this pensive turn should be so predomi- 
nant in people of this profession above all others. 

And first, may it not be, that the custom of wearing apparel 
being derived to us from the fall, and one of the most mortifying 
products of that unhappy event, a certain seriousness (to say no 
more of it) may in the order of things have been intended to be 
impressed upon the minds of that race of men to whom in all ages 
the care of contriving the human apparel has been entrusted, — to 
keep up the memory of the first institution of clothes, and serve as 
a standing remonstrance against those vanities, which the absurd 
conversion of a memorial of our shame into an ornament of our 
persons weis destined to produce ? Correspondent in some sort to 
this, it may be remarked, that the tailor sitting over a cave or 
hollow place, in the cabbalistic language of his order, is said to 
have certain melancholy regions always open under his feet. 
— But waving further enquiry into final causes, where the best of us 
can only wander in the dark, let us try to discover the efficient causes 
of this melancholy. 

I think, then, that they may be reduced to two, omitting some 
subordinate ones, viz.. 

The sedentary habits of the tailor. — 
Something peculiar in his diet. — 

men, that, residing in one of the Inns of Court (where the best specimens of them 
are to be found, except perhaps at the universities) there are seven of them to whom 
I am personally known, and who never pass me without the compliment of the hat 
on either side. My truly polite and urbane friend, Mr. A m, of Flower-de-luce- 
court, in Fleet-street, will forgive my mention of him in particular. I can truly 
say, that I never spent a quarter of an hour under his hands without deriving some 
profit from the agreeable discussions, which are always going on there. 



ON THE MELANCHOLY OF TAILORS 175 

First, his sedentary habits. — In Dr. Norris's famous narrative of 
the frenzy of Mr. John Dennis, the patient, being questioned as to 
the occasion of the swelling in his legs, replies that it came " by 
criticism ; " to which the learned doctor seeming to demur, as to a 
distemper which he had never read of, Dennis (who appears not 
to have been mad upon all subjects) rejoins with some warmth, that 
it was no distemper, but a noble art! that he had sat fourteen 
hours a day at it : and that the other was a pretty doctor not to 
know that there was a communication between the brain and the 
legs. 

When we consider that this sitting for fourteen hours contin- 
uously, which the critic probably practised only while he was writing 
his "remarks," is no more than what the tailor, in the ordinary 
pursuance of his art, submits to daily (Sundays excepted) through- 
out the year, shall we wonder to find the brain affected, and in a 
manner over-clouded, from that indissoluble sympathy between the 
noble and less noble parts of the body, which Dennis hints at ? 
The unnatural and painful manner of his sitting must also greatly 
aggravate the evil, insomuch that I have sometimes ventured to liken 
tailors at their boards to so many envious Junos, sitting cross- 
legged to hinder the birth of their own felicity. The legs 
transversed thus (x! cross-wise, or decussated, was among the 
ancients the posture of malediction. The Turks, who practise it 
at this day, are noted to be a melancholy people. 

Secondly, his diet. — To which purpose I find a most remarkable 
passage in Burton, in his chapter entitled " Bad diet a cause of 
melancholy." " Amongst herbs to be eaten (he says) I find gourds, 
cucumbers, melons, disallowed ; but especially cabbage. It causeth 
troublesome dreams, and sends up black vapours to the brain. 
Galen, loc. affect, lib. 3, cap. 6, of all herbs condemns cabbage. 
And Isaack, lib. 2, cap. 1, animoe gravitatem facit, it brings 
heaviness to the soul." I could not omit so flattering a testimony 
from an author, who, having no theory of his own to serve, has so 
unconsciously contributed to the confirmation of mine. It is well 
known that this last-named vegetable has, from the earliest periods 
which we can discover, constituted almost the sole food of this 
extraordinary race of people. 

Burton, Junior. 



176 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 



ON NEEDLE-WORK 

(By MARY LAMB) 

(1815) 
To the Editor of The British Lady's Magazine 

MR. EDITOR, — In early life I passed eleven years in the 
exercise of my needle for a livelihood. Will you allow 
me to address your readers, among whom might perhaps be found 
some of the kind patronesses of my former humble labours, on a 
subject widely connected with female life — the state of needlework 
in this country. 

To lighten the heavy burthen which many ladies impose upon 
themselves is one object which I have in view : but, I confess, my 
strongest motive is to excite attention towards the industrious 
sisterhood to which I once belonged. 

From books I have been informed of the fact, upon which " The 
British Lady's Magazine" chiefly founds its pretensions, namely, 
that women have of late been rapidly advancing in intellectual 
improvement. Much may have been gained in this way, indirectly, 
for that class of females for whom I wish to plead. Needlework 
and intellectual improvement are naturally in a state of warfare. 
But I am afraid the root of the evil has not as yet been struck at. 
Workwomen of every description were never in so much distress for 
want of employment. 

Among the present circle of my acquaintance I am proud to rank 
many that may truly be called respectable ; nor do the female part 
of them, in their mental attainments, at all disprove the prevailing 
opinion of that intellectual progression which you have taken as 
the basis of your work ; yet I affirm that I know not a single 
family where there is not some essential drawback to its comfort 
which may be traced to needle-work done at home, as the phrase 
is for all needle-work performed in a family by some of its own 
members, and for which no remuneration in money is received or 
expected. 

In money alone, did I say ? I would appeal to all the fair 
votaries of voluntary housewifery, whether, in the matter of con- 
science, any one of them ever thought she had done as much 
needle-work as she ought to have done. Even fancy work, the 
fairest of the tribe I — how delightful the arrangement of her 
materials ! the fixing upon her happiest pattern, how pleasing an 
anxiety I how cheerful the commencement of the labour she enjoins ! 
But that lady must be a true lover of the art, and so industrious a 



ON NEEDLE- WORK 177 

pursuer of a predetermined purpose, that it were pity her energy 
should not have been directed to some wiser end, who can affirm 
she neither feels weariness during the execution of a fancy piece, 
nor takes more time than she had calculated for the performance. 

Is it too bold an attempt to persuade your readers that it would 
prove an incalculable addition to general happiness, and the domestic 
comfort of both sexes, if needle-work were never practised but for a 
remuneration in money ? As nearly, however, as this desirable 
thing can be effected, so much more nearly will women be upon an 
equality with men, as far as respects the mere enjoyment of life. 
As far as that goes, I believe it is every woman's opinion that the 
condition of men is far superior to her own. 

" They can do what they like," we say. Do not these words 
generally mean, they have time to seek out whatever amusements 
suit their tastes ? We dare not tell them we have no time to do 
this ; for, if they should ask in what manner we dispose of our time, 
we should blush to enter upon a detail of the minutiae which com- 
pose the sum of a woman's daily employment. Nay, many a lady 
who allows not herself one quarter of an hour's positive leisure 
during her waking hours, considers her own husband as the most 
industrious of men, if he steadily pursue his occupation till the hour 
of dinner, and will be perpetually lamenting her own idleness. 

Real business and real leisure make up the portions of men's 
time — ^two sources of happiness which we certainly partake of in a 
very inferior degree. To the execution of employment, in which 
the faculties of the body or mind are called into busy action, there 
must be a consoling importance attached, which feminine duties 
(that generic term for all our business) cannot aspire to. 

In the most meritorious discharges of those duties, the highest 
praise we can aim at is to be accounted the helpmates of man ; 
who, in return for all he does for us, expects, and justly expects, us 
to do all in our power to soften and sweeten life. 

In how many ways is a good woman employed, in thought or 
action, through the day, in order that her good man may be enabled 
to feel his leisure hours real substantial holyday, and perfect 
respite from the cares of business ! Not the least part to be done 
to accomplish this end is to fit herself to become a conversational 
companion ; that is to say, she has to study and understand the 
subjects on which he loves to talk. This part of our duty, if strictly 
performed, will be found by far our hardest part. The disad- 
vantages we labour under from an education difiering from a manly 
one make the hours in which we sit and do nothing in men's com- 
pany too often any thing but a relaxation ; although, as to pleasure 
and instruction, time so passed may be esteemed more or less 
delightful. 

VOL. I. — 12 



178 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

To make a man's home so desirable a place as to preclude his 
having a wish to pass his leisure hours at any fireside in preference 
to his own, I should humbly take to be the sum and substance of 
woman's domestic ambition. I would appeal to our British ladies, 
who are generally allowed to be the most zealous and successful of 
all women in the pursuit of this object, — I would appeal to them 
who have been most successful in the performance of this laudable 
service, in behalf of father, son, husband, or brother, whether an 
anxious desire to perform this duty well is not attended with enough 
of Tnental exertion, at least, to incline them to the opinion that 
women may be more properly ranked among the contributors to, 
than the partakers of, the undisturbed relaxation of man. 

If a family be so well ordered that the master is never called in 
to its direction, and yet he perceives comfort and economy well 
attended to, the mistress of that family (especially if children form 
a part of it) has, I apprehend, as large a share of womanly employ- 
ment as ought to satisfy her own sense of duty ; even though the 
needle-book and thread-case were quite laid aside, and she cheerfully 
contributed her part to the slender gains of the corset-maker, the 
milliner, the dress-maker, the plain-worker, the embroidress, and 
all the numerous classifications of females supporting themselves 
by needle-work, that great staple commodity which is alone ap- 
propriated to the self-supporting part of our sex. 

Much has been said and written on the subject of men engrossing 
to themselves every occupation and calling. After many years of 
observation and reflection, I am obliged to acquiesce in the notion 
that it cannot well be ordered otherwise. 

K at the birth of girls it were possible to foresee in what cases 
it would be their fortune to pass a single life, we should soon find 
trades wrested from their present occupiers, and transferred to the 
exclusive possession of our sex. The whole mechanical business of 
copying writings in the law department, for instance, might very 
soon be transferred with advantage to the poorer sort of women, 
who with very little teaching would soon beat their rivals of the 
other sex in facility and neatness. The parents of female children, 
who were known to be destined from their birth to maintain them- 
selves through the whole course of their lives with like certainty as 
their sons are, would feel it a duty incumbent on themselves to 
strengthen the minds, and even the bodily constitutions, of their 
girls, so circumstanced, by an education which, without afii-onting 
the preconceived habits of society, might enable them to follow 
some occupation now considered above the capacity or too robust 
for the constitution of our sex. Plenty of resources would then 
lie open for single women to obtain an independent livelihood, 
when every parent would be upon the alert to encroach upon some 



ON NEEDLE- WOEK 179 

employment, now engrossed by men, for such of their daughters 
as would then be exactly in the same predicament as their sons 
now are. Who, for instance, would lay by money to set up his sons 
in trade ; give premiums, and in part maintain them through a 
long apprenticeship ; or, which men of moderate incomes frequently 
do, strain every nerve in order to bring them up to a learned 
profession ; if it were in a very high degree probable that, by the 
time they were twenty years of age, they would be taken from this 
trade or profession, and maintained during the remainder of their 
lives by the person whom they should marry. Yet this is pre- 
cisely the situation in which every parent, whose income does not 
very much exceed the moderate, is placed with respect to his 
daughters. 

Even where boys have gone through a laborious education, 
superinducing habits of steady attention, accompanied with the 
entire conviction that the business which they learn is to be the 
soiu'ce of their future distinction, may it not be affirmed that the 
persevering industry required to accomplish this desirable end 
causes many a hard struggle in the minds of young men, even 
of the most hopeful disposition ? What then must be the dis- 
advantages under which a very young woman is placed who is 
required to learn a trade, from which she can never expect to reap 
any profit, but at the expence of losing that place in society, to the 
possession of which she may reasonably look forward, inasmuch 
as it is by far the most common lot, namely, the condition of a 
happy English wife ? 

As I desire to offer nothing to the consideration of your readers 
but what, at least as far as my own observation goes, I consider 
as truths confirmed by experience, I will only say that, were I to 
follow the bent of my own speculative opinion, I should be inclined 
to persuade every female over whom I hoped to have any influence 
to contribute all the assistance in her power to those of her own 
sex who may need it, in the employments they at present occupy, 
rather than to force them into situations now filled wholly by men. 
With the mere exception of the profits which they have a right 
to derive fi-om their needle, I would take nothing from the industry 
of man which he already possesses. 

" A penny saved is a penny earned," is a maxim not true, unless 
the penny be saved in the same time in which it might have been 
earned. I, who have known what it is to work for money earned, 
have since had much experience in working for money saved ; and 
I consider, from the closest calculation I can make, that a penny 
saved in that way bears about a true proportion to a farthing 
earned. I am no advocate for women, who do not depend on 
themselves for a subsistence, proposing to themselves to earn 



180 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

'money. My reasons for thinking it not advisable are too numerous 
to state — reasons deduced from authentic facts, and strict observa- 
tions on domestic life in its various shades of comfort. But, if the 
females of a family, wommaWi/ supported by the other sex, find 
it necessary to add something to the common stock, why not 
endeavour to do something by which they may produce money 
in its true shape ? 

It would be an excellent plan, attended with very little trouble, 
to calculate every evening how much money has been saved by 
needle-work done in the family, and compare the result with the 
daily portion of the yearly income. Nor would it be amiss to make 
a memorandum of the time passed in this way, adding also a guess 
as to what share it has taken up in the thoughts and conversation. 
This would be an easy mode of forming a true notion, and getting 
at the exact worth of this species of home industry, and perhaps 
might place it in a diiFerent light from any in which it has hitherto 
been the fashion to consider it. 

Needle-work, taken up as an amusement, may not be altogether 
unamusing. We are all pretty good judges of what entertains our- 
selves, but it is not so easy to pronounce upon what may contribute 
to the entertainment of others. At all events, let us not confuse 
the motives of economy with those of simple pastime. If saving 
be no object, and long habit have rendered needle- work so delight- 
ful an avocation that we cannot think of relinquishing it, there are 
the good old contrivances in which our grand-dames were used to 
beguile and lose their time — knitting, knotting, netting, carpet 
working, and the like ingenious pursuits — those so-often-praised 
but tedious works, which are so long in the operation, that pur- 
chasing the labour has seldom been thought good economy, yet, 
by a certain fascination, they have been found to chain down the 
great to a self-imposed slavery, from which they considerately, or 
haughtily, excuse the needy. These may be esteemed lawful and 
lady-like amusements. But, if those works, more usually denom- 
inated useful, yield greater satisfaction, it might be a laudable 
scruple of conscience, and no bad test to herself of her own motive, 
if a lady, who had no absolute need, were to give the money so 
saved to poor needle-women belonging to those bi-anches of em- 
ployment from which she has borrowed these shares of pleasurable 
labour. 

Sempronia. 



ON THE WORKS OF GEORGE WITHER 181 

ON THE POETICAL WORKS OF GEORGE WITHER 

(?1815. Text of 1818) 

THE poems of G. Wither are distinguished by a hearty home- 
liness of manner, and a plain moral speaking. He seems to 
liave passed his life in one continued act of an innocent self-pleas- 
ing. That which he calls his Motto is a continued self-eulogy of two 
thousand lines, yet we read it to the end without any feeling of 
distaste, almost without a consciousness that we have been listening 
all the while to a man praising himself. There are none of the 
cold particles in it, the hardness and self-ends which render vanity 
and egotism hateful. He seems to be praising another person, 
under the mask of self ; or rather we feel that it was indifferent to 
him where he found the virtue which he celebrates ; whether an- 
other's bosom, or his own, were its chosen receptacle. His poems 
are full, and this in particular is one downright confession, of a 
generous self-seeking. But by self he sometimes means a great 
deal, — his friends, his principles, his country, the human race. 

Whoever expects to find in the satirical pieces of this writer any 
of those peculiarities which pleased him in the satires of Dryden or 
Pope, will be grievously disappointed. Here are no high-finished 
characters, no nice traits of individual nature, few or no person- 
alities. The game run down is coarse general vice, or folly as it 
appears in classes. A liar, a drunkard, a coxcomb, is stript and 
whipt ; no Shaftesbury, no Villiers, or Wharton, is curiously 
anatomized, and read upon. But to a well-natured mind there is 
a charm of moral sensibility running through them which amply 
compensates the want of those luxuries. Wither seems every where 
bursting with a love of goodness and a hatred of all low and base 
actions. — At this day it is hard to discover what parts in the 
poem here particularly alluded to. Abuses Stript and Whipt, 
could have occasioned the imprisonment of the author. Was Vice 
in High Places more suspicious than now ? had she more power ; 
or more leisure to listen after ill reports .'' That a man should be 
convicted of a libel when he named no names but Hate, and Envy, 
and Lust, and Avarice, is like one of the indictments in the 
Pilgrim's Progress, where Faithful is arraigned for having " railed 
on our noble Prince Beelzebub, and spoken contemptibly of his 
honourable friends, the Lord Old Man, the Lord Carnal Delight, 
and the Lord Luxurious." What unlucky jealousy could have 
tempted the great men of those days to appropriate such innocent 
abstractions to themselves ! 

Wither seems to have contemplated to a degree of idolatry his 



182 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

own possible virtue. He is for ever anticipating persecution and 
martyrdom ; fingering, as it were, the flames, to try how he can 
bear them. Perhaps his premature defiance sometimes made him 
obnoxious to censures, which he would otherwise have slipped by. 

The homely versification of these Satires is not likely to attract 
in the present day. It is certainly not such as we should expect 
from a poet " soaring in the high region of his fancies with his 
garland and his singing robes about him ; " ^ nor is it such as he 
has shown in his Philarete, and in some parts in his Shepherds 
Hunting. He seems to have adopted this dress with voluntary 
humility, as fittest for a moral teacher, as our divines chuse sober 
grey or black ; but in their humility consists their sweetness. The 
deepest tone of moral feeling in them, (though all throughout is 
weighty, earnest and passionate) is in those pathetic injunctions 
against shedding of blood in quarrels, in the chapter entitled 
Revenge. The story of his own forbearance, which follows, is 
highly interesting. While the Christian sings his own victory over 
Anger, the Man of Courage cannot help peeping out to let you 
know, that it was some higher principle than fear which counselled 
his forbearance. 

Whether encaged, or roaming at liberty. Wither never seems to 
have abated a jot of that free spirit, which sets its mark upon 
his writings, as much as a predominant feature of independence 
impresses every page of our late glorious Bums ; but the elder 

Eoet wraps his proof-armour closer about him, the other wears 
is too much outwards ; he is thinking too much of annoying the 
foe, to be quite easy within ; the spiritual defences of Wither are 
a perpetual source of inward sunshine, the magnanimity of the 
modern is not without its alloy of soreness, and a sense of injustice, 
which seems perpetually to gall and irritate. Wither was better 
skilled in the " sweet uses of adversity," he knew how to extract 
the "precious jewel" from the head of the "toad," without draw- 
ing any of the " ugly venom " along with it. — The prison notes 
of Wither are finer than the wood notes of most of his poetical 
brethren. The description in the Fourth Eglogue of his Shep- 
herds Hunting (which was composed during his imprisonment in 
the Marshalsea) of the power of the Muse to extract pleasure from 
common objects, has been oftener quoted, and is more known, than 
any part of his writings. Indeed the whole Eglogue is in a strain 
so much above not only what himself, but almost what any other 
poet has written, that he himself could not help noticing it ; he 
remarks, that his spirits had been raised higher than they were 
wont "through the love of poesy." — The praises of Poetry have 

1 Milton. 



ON THE WOEKS OF GEOEGE WITHEE 183 

been often sung in ancient and in modern times ; strange powers 
have been ascribed to it of influence over animate and inanimate 
auditors ; its force over fascinated crowds has been acknowledged ; 
but, before Wither, no one ever celebrated its power at home, the 
wealth and the strength which this divine gift confers upon its 
possessor. Fame, and that too after death, was all which hitherto 
the poets had promised themselves from their art. It seems to 
have been left to Wither to discover, that poetry was a present 
possession, as well as a rich reversion ; and that the Muse had 
promise of both lives, of this, and of that which was to come. 

The Mistress of Philarete is in substance a panegyric pro- 
tracted through several thousand lines in the mouth of a single 
speaker, but diversified, so as to produce an almost dramatic effect, 
by the artful introduction of some ladies, who are rather auditors 
than intei'locutors in the scene ; and of a boy, whose singing 
furnishes pretence for an occasional change of metre : though the 
seven syllable line, in which the main part of it is written, is that 
in which Wither has shown himself so great a master, that I do 
not know that I am always thankful to him for the exchange. 

Wither has chosen to bestow upon the lady whom he commends, 
the name of Arete, or Virtue ; and, assuming to himself the character 
of Philarete, or Lover of Vhtue, there is a sort of propriety in that 
heaped measure of perfections, which he attributes to this partly real, 
partly allegorical, personage. Drayton before him had shadowed 
his mistress under the name of Idea, or Perfect Pattern, and some 
of the old Italian love-strains are couched in such religious terms 
as to make it doubtful, whether it be a mistress, or Divine Grace, 
which the poet is addressing. 

In this poem (full of beauties) there are two passages of pre- 
eminent merit. The first is where the lover, after a flight of 
rapturous commendation, expresses his wonder why all men that 
are about his mistress, even to her very servants, do not view her 
with the same eyes that he does. 



Sometime I do admire, 
All men burn not with desire ; 
Nay I muse her servants are not 
Pleading love ; but O ! they dare not. 
And I tlierefore wonder, why 
They do not grow sick and die. 
Sure they would do so, but that. 
By the ordinance of fate. 
There is some concealed thing 
So each gazer limiting. 
He can see no more of merit 
Than beseems his worth and spirit, 
For in her a grace there shines, 
That o'er-daring thoughts confines ; 



Making worthless men despair 

To be lov'd of one so fair. 

Yea the destinies agree. 

Some good judgments blind should be, 

And not gain the power of knowing 

Those rare beauties in her growing. 

Reason doth as much imply : 

For if every judging eye, 

Which beholdeth her, should there 

Find what excellencies are ; 

All, o'ercome by those perfections. 

Would be captive to affections. 

So in happiness unblest. 

She for lovers should not rest. 



184 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

The other is, where he has been comparing her beauties to gold, 
and stars, and the most excellent things in nature ; and, fearing to 
be accused of hyperbole, the common charge against poets, vindi- 
cates himself by boldly taking upon him, that these comparisons are 
no hyperboles ; but that the best things in nature do, in a lover's 
eye, fall short of those excellencies which he adores in her. 



What pearls, what rubies can 
Seem so lovely fair to man, 
As her lips whom he doth love. 
When in sweet discourse they move, 
Or her lovelier teeth, the while 
She doth bless him with a smile ? 
Stars indeed fair creatures be ; 
Yet amongst us where is he 
Joys not more the whilst he lies 
Sunning in his mistress' eyes. 
Than in all the glimmering light 
Of a starry winter's night ? 



Note the beauty of an eye — 
And if aught you praise it by 
Leave such passion in your mind, 
Let my reason's eye be blind. 
Mark if ever red or white 
Any where gave such delight, 
As when they have taken place 
In a worthy woman's face. 

I must praise her as I may. 
Which I do mine own rude way ; 
Sometime setting forth her glories 
By unheard of allegories — &c. 



To the measure in which these lines are written, the wits of Queen 
Anne's days contemptuously gave the name of Namby Pamby, in 
ridicule of Ambrose Philips, who has used it in some instances, as 
in the lines on Cuzzoni, to my feeling at least, very deliciously ; but 
Wither, whose darling measure it seems to have been, may shew, 
that in skilful hands it is capable of expressing the subtilest move- 
ments of passion. So true it is, which Drayton seems to have felt, 
that it is the poet who modifies the metre, not the metre the poet ; 
in his own words, that 

It's possible to climb ; 
To kindle, or to stake ; 
Altho' in Skelton's rhime.' 



FOUR DRAMATIC CRITICISMS 

I.— MISS KELLY AT BATH 

(1819) 

DEAR G. I was thinking yesterday of our old play-going 
days, of your and my partiality to Mrs. Jordan ; of our dis- 
putes as to the relative merits of Dodd and Parsons ; and whether 

^ [See page 458 /or Lamb's footnote that should have been inserted here.} 



FOUE DEAMATIC CEITICISMS 186 

Smith or Jack Palmer, were the most of a Gentleman. The occasion 
of my falling into this train of thinking was my learning from the 
newspapers that Miss Kelly is paying the Bath Theatre a visit. 
(Your own Theatre, I am sorry to find, is shut up, either from 

parsimonious feelings, or through the influence of principles.^) 

This lady has long ranked among the most considerable of our 
London performers. If there are one or two of greater name, I 
must impute it to the circumstance, that she has never burst upon 
the town at once in the maturity of her powers ; which is a great 
advantage to debutantes, who have passed their probationary years 
in Provincial Theatres. We do not hear them tuning their instru- 
ments. But she has been winning her patient way from the hum- 
blest gradations to the eminence which she has now attained, on the 
self same boards which supported her first in the slender pretensions 
of chorus-singer. I very much wish that you would go and see 
her. You will not see Mrs. Jordan, but something else ; something 
on the whole very little, if at all, inferior to that lady, in her best 
days. I cannot hope that you will think so ; I do not even wish 
that you should. Our longest remembrances are the most sacred ; 
and I shall revere the prejudice, that shall prevent you from 
thinking quite so favorably of her as I do. — I do not well know 
how to draw a parallel between their distinct manners of acting. 
I seem to recognize the same pleasantness and nature in both : but 
Mrs. Jordan's wa^ the carelessness of a child ; her child-like spirit 
shook off the load of years from her spectators ; she seemed one 
whom care could not come near ; a privileged being, sent to teach 
mankind what it most wants, joyousness. Hence, if we had more 
unmixed pleasure from her performances, we had, perhaps, less 
sympathy with them than with those of her successor. This latter 
lady's is the joy of a freed spirit, escaping from care, as a bird that 
had been limed ; her smiles, if I may use the expression, seemed saved 
out of the fire, relics which a good and innocent heart had snatched 
up as most portable ; her contents are visitors, not inmates : she can 
lay them by altogether ; and when she does so, I am not sure that 
she is not greatest. She is, in truth, no ordinary tragedian. Her 
Yarico is the most intense piece of acting which I ever witnessed, 
the most heart-rending spectacle. To see her leaning upon that 
wretched reed, her lover — the very exhibition of whose character 
would be a moral offence, but for her clinging and noble credulity 
— to see her lean upon that flint, and by the strong workings of 
passion imagine it a god — is one of the most afllicting lessons 
of the yearnings of the human heart and its sad mistakes, that 

'The word here omitted by the Bristol Editor, we suppose, is methodistical 
(Leigh Hunt in The Examiner). 



186 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

ever was read upon a stage. The whole performance is every 
where African, fervid, glowing. Nor is this any thing more than 
the wonderful force of imagination in this performer ; for turn but 
the scene, and you shall have her come forward in some kindly 
home-drawn character of an English rustic, a Phoebe, or a Dinah 
Cropley, where you would swear that her thoughts had never 
strayed beyond the precincts of the dairy, or the farm ; or her mind 
known less tranquil passions than she might have learned among 
the flock, her out-of-door companions. See her again in parts of 
pure fun, such as the House-maid in the Merry Mourners, where 
the suspension of the broom in her hand, which she had been 
delightfully twirling, on unexpectedly encountering her sweetheart 
in the character of a fellow-servant, is quite equal to Mrs. Jordan's 
cordial inebriation in Nell. — I do not know whether I am not 
speaking it to her honor, that she does not succeed in what are 
called fine lady parts. Our friend C. once observed, that no man 
of genius ever figured as a gentleman. Neither did any woman, 
gifted with Mrs. Jordan's or Miss Kelly's sensibilities, ever take 
upon herself to shine as a fine lady, the very essence of this char- 
acter consisting in the entire repression of all genius and all feeling. 
To sustain a part of this kind to the life, a performer must be 
haunted by a perpetual self-reference : she must be always thinking 
of herself, and how she looks, and how she deports herself in the 
eyes of the spectators ; whereas the delight of actresses of true 
feeling, and their chief power, is to elude the personal notice of an 
audience, to escape into their parts, and hide themselves under the 
hood of their assumed character. Their most graceful self-possession 
is in fact a self-forgetfulness ; an oblivion alike of self and of spec- 
tators. For this reason your most approved epilogue-speakers have 
been always ladies who have possessed least of this self-forgetting 
quality ; and I think I have seen the amiable actress in question 
suffering some embarrassment, when she has had an address of this 
sort to deliver; when she found the modest veil of personation, which 
had half hid her from the audience, suddenly withdrawn, and herself 
brought without any such qualifying intervention before the public. 
I should apologise for the length of this letter, if I did not re- 
member the lively interest you used to take in theatrical per- 
formances. — I am, &c. &c., * * * « 

II.— RICHARD BROME'S "JOVIAL CREW" 

(1819) 

The Jovial Crew or the Merry Beggars has been revived here 
[the English Opera] after an interval, as the bills tell us, of seven 
years. Can it be so long (it seems but yesterday) since we saw poor 



FOUR DEAMATIC CEITICISMS 187 

LovEGRovE in Justice Clack ? his childish treble still pipes in our 
ears : "Whip 'em, whip 'em, whip 'em." Dowton was the representa- 
tive of the Justice the other night, and shook our ribs most incon- 
tinently. He was in " excellent foolery," and our lungs crowed 
chanticleer. Yet it appears to us, that there was a still higher 
strain of fatuity in his predecessor — that his eyes distilled a richer 
dotage. Perhaps after all it was an error of the memory. De- 
funct merit comes out upon us strangely. 

Easy natural Wrench was the Springlove ,• too comfortable a 
personage perhaps to personify Springlove, in whom the voice of 
the bird awakens a restless instinct of roaming that had slept dur- 
ing the winter. Miss Stevenson certainly leaves us nothing to 
regret for the absence of the Lady, however agreeable, who formerly 
performed the part of Meriel. Miss Stevenson is a fine open- 
countenanced lass, with glorious girlish manners. But the Prin- 
cess of Mumpers, and Lady Paramount, of beggarly counterfeit 
accents, was she that played Rachel. Her gabbling lachrymose 
petitions ; her tones, such as we have heard by the side of old 
woods, when an irresistible face has come peeping on one on a 
sudden ; with her full black locks, and a voice — how shall we 
describe it i* — a voice that was by nature meant to convey nothing 
but truth and goodness, but warped by circumstance into an assur- 
ance that she is telling us a lie — that catching twitch of the 
thievish irreproveable finger — those ballad-singers' notes, so vulgar, 
yet so unvulgar — that assurance, so like impudence, and yet so 
many countless leagues removed from it — her jeers, which we had 
rather stand, than be caressed with others ladies' compliments, a 
summer's day long — her face, with a wild out-of-door's grace 
upon it — 

Altogether, a brace of more romantic she-beggars it was nevei 
our fortune to meet in this supplicatory world. The youngest 
might have sate for " pretty Bessy," whose father was an Earl, and 
whose legend still adorns the front of mine Hostess's doors at 
Bethnal-Green ; and the other could be no less than the " Beggar 
Maid " whom " King Cophetua wooed." " What a lass that were," 
said a stranger who sate beside us, speaking of Miss Kelly in 
Rachel, " to go a gipseying through the world with." We confess 
we longed to drop a tester in her lap, she begged so masterly. 

By the way, this is the true Beggar's Opera. The other should 
have been called the Mirror for Highwaymen. We wonder the 
Societies for the Suppression of Mendicity (and other good things) 
do not club for the putting down of this infamous protest in favour 
of air, and clear liberty, and honest license, and blameless assertion 
of man's original blest charter of blue skies, and vagrancy, and 
nothing-to-do. * * * * 



188 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

III.— ISAAC BICKERSTAFFS "HYPOCRITE" 
(1819) 

By one of those strange perversities which actuate poor mortals 
in the place of motives (to persuade us into the notion that we are 
free agents, we presume), we had never till the other evening seen 
DowTON in Doctor Gantwell. By a pious fraud of Mr. Aenold's, 
who, by a process as simple as some of those by which Mathews 
metamorphoses his person, has converted the play into an opera, — 
a conversion, by the way, for which we are highly indebted to him, 
— we have been favoured with this rich novelty at our favourite 
theatre. It seems a little unreasonable to come lagging in with a 
posthumous testimony to the merits of a performance of which the 
town has long rung, but we cannot help remarking in Mr. Dowton's 
acting, the subtil gradations of the hypocrisy ; the length to which 
it runs in proportion as the recipient is capable of taking it in ; the 
^ross palpable way in which he administers the dose in wholesale to 
old Lady Lambert, that rich fanatic ; the somewhat more guarded 
manner in which he retails it out, only so much at a time as he can 
bear, to the somewhat less bitten fool her son ; and the almost 
absence of it, before the younger members of the family, when 
nobody else is by : how the cloven foot peeps out a little and a 
little more, till the diabolical nature is stung out at last into full 
manifestation of its horrid self. What a grand insolence in the 
tone which he assumes, when he commands Sir John to quit his 
house ! and then the tortures and agonies when he is finally baffled ! 
It is in these last perhaps that he is greatest, and we should be 
<ioing injustice not to compare this part of the performance with, 
and in some respects to give it the preference above, the acting of 
Mr. Kean in a situation nearly analogous, at the conclusion of the 
City Madam. Gantwell reveals his pangs with quite as much force, 
and without the assistance of those contortions which transform the 
detected Luke into the similitude of a mad tiger, or a foaming 
demon. Dowton plays it neither like beast nor demon, but simply 
as it should be, a bold bad man pushed to extremity. Humanity 
is never once overstepped. Has it ever been noticed, the exquisite 
modulation with which he drawls out the word Charles, when he 
<;alls his secretary, so humble, so seraphic, so resigned. The most 
diabolical of her sex that we ever knew accented all her honey devil 
words in j ust such a hymn-like smoothness. The spirit of Whitfield 
seems hovering in the air, to suck in the blessed tones, so much like 
his own upon earth : Lady Huntingdon claps her neat white wings, 
and gives it out again in heaven to the sainted ones, in approbation. 

Miss Kelly is not quite at home in Charlotte ; she is too good 
for such parts. Her cue is to be natural ; she cannot put on the 



FOUR DRAMATIC CRITICISMS 189 

modes of artificial life, and play the coquet as it is expected to be 
played. There is a frankness in her tones which defeats her pur- 
poses : we could not help wondering why her lover (Mr. Peaeman) 
looked so rueful ; we forgot that she was acting airs and graces, 
as she seemed to forget it herself, turning them into a playfulness 
which could breed no doubt for a moment which way her inchna- 
tions ran. She is in truth not framed to tease or torment even in 
jest, but to utter a hearty Ves or No ; to yield or refuse assent 
with a noble sincerity. We have not the pleasure of being ac- 
quainted with her, but we have been told that she carries the 
same cordial manners into private life. We have heard, too, of 
some virtues which she is in the practice of; but they are of a 
description which repay themselves, and with them neither we 
nor the public have any thing to do. 

One word about Weench, who played the Colonel : — Was this 
man never unhappy ? It seems as if care never came near him, as 
if the black ox could never tread upon his foot ; we want something 
calamitous to befal him, to bring him down to us. It is a shame 
he should be suiFered to go about with his well-looking happy face 
and tones, insulting us thin race of irritable and irritable-making 
critics. * * * * 

IV.— NEW PIECES AT THE LYCEUM 

(1819) 

A plot has broke out at this theatre. Some quarrel has 
been breeding between the male and female performers, and the 
women have determined to set up for themselves. Seven of them. 
Belles without Beaux they call themselves, have undertaken to 
get up a piece without any assistance from the men, and in our 
opinion have established their point most successfully. There is 
Miss Caeew with her silvery tones, and Miss Stevenson with her 
delicious mixture of the school-girl and the waiting-maid, and Miss 
Kelly sure to be first in any mischief, and Mrs. Chatterly with 
some of the best acting we have ever witnessed, and Miss Love, 
worthy of the name, and Mrs. Geove that rhymes to her, and 
Mrs. RiCHAEDsoN who might in charity have been allowed some- 
what a larger portion of the dialogue. The efiect was enchanting. 
We mean, for once. We do not want to encourage these Amazonian 
vanities. Once or twice we longed to have Weench bustling among 
them. A lady who sate near us was observed to gape for want of 
variety. To us it was delicate quintessence, an apple-pye made all 
of quinces. We remember poor Holceoft's last Comedy, which 
positively died from the opposite excess ; it was choked up with 
men, and perished from a redundancy of male population. It had 
nine principal men characters in it, and but one woman, and she of 



190 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

no very ambiguous character. Mrs. Haelow, to do the part justice, 
chose to play it in scarlet. 

We did not know Mrs. Chatterly's merits before ; she plays, 
with downright sterling good acting, a prude who is to be convinced 
out of her prudery by Miss Kelly's (we did not catch her stage- 
name) assumption of the dress and character of a brother of seven- 
teen, who makes the prettiest unalarming Platonic approaches ; and 
in the shyest mask of moral battery, no one step of which you can 
detect, or say this is decidedly going too far, vanquishes at last the 
ice of her scruples, brings her into an infinite scrape, and then with 
her own infinite good humour sets all to right, and brings her safe 
out of it again with an explanation. Mrs. Chatterly's embarrass- 
ments were masterly. Miss Stevenson her maid's start, at surprising 
a youth in her mistress's closet at midnight, was quite as good. 
Miss Kelly we do not care to say any thing about, because we have 
been accused of flattering her. The truth is, this lady puts so 
much intelligence and good sense into every part which she plays, 
that there is no expressing an honest sense of her merits, without 
incurring a suspicion of that sort. But what have we to gain by 
praising Miss Kelly ? 

Altogether this little feminine republic, this provoking experi- 
ment, went off" most smoothly. What a nice world it would be, we 
sometimes think, all women ! but then we are afraid we slip in a 
fallacy unawares into the hypothesis ; we somehow edge in the idea 
of ourselves as spectators or something among them. 

We saw Wilkinson after it in Walk for a Wager. What a 
picture of Forlorn Hope ! of abject orphan destitution ! he seems 
to have no friends in the world but his legs, and he plies them 
accordingly. He goes walking on like a perpetual motion. His 
continual ambulatory presence performs the part of a Greek chorus. 
He is the walking Gentleman of the piece ; a Peripatetic that would 
make a Stoic laugh. He made us cry. His Mu_fflncap in 
Jmateurs and Actors is just such another piece of acting. We 
have seen charity boys, both of St. Clement's and Farringdon with- 
out, looking just as old, ground down out of all semblance of youth, 
by abject and hopeless neglect — you cannot guess their age between 
fifteen and fifty. If Mr. Peak is the author of these pieces, he has 
no reason to be piqued at their reception. 

We must apologize for an oversight in our last week's article. 
The allusion made to Mr. Kean's acting of Luke in the City 
Madam was totally inapplicable to the part and to the play. We 
were thinking of his performance of the concluding scenes of the 
New Way to Pay Old Debts. We confounded one of Massinger's 
strange heroes with the other. It was Sir Giles Overreach we 
meant; nor are we sure that our remark was just, even with this 



FOUR REVIEWS 191 

explanation. When we consider the intense tone, in which Mr. 
Kean thinks it proper (and he is quite as Ukely to be in the right 
as his blundering critic) to pitch the temperament of that monstrous 
character from the beginning, it follows but logically and naturally, 
that where the wild uncontrollable man comes to be baffled of 
his purpose, his passions should assume a frenzied manner, which it 
was altogether absurd to expect should be the same with the 
manner of the cautious and self-restraining Cantwell, even when 
he breaks loose from all bonds in the agony of his final exposure. 
We never felt more strongly the good sense of the saying, — Com- 
parisons are odious. They betray us not seldom into bitter errors of 
judgment ; and sometimes, as in the present instance, into absolute 
matter of fact blunders. But we have recanted. * * * * 



FOUR REVIEWS 

(1819-18£0) 

I.—FALSTAFF'S LETTERS 

(1819) 

Original Letters, &c., of Sir John Falstaff and his Friends ; 
now first made public by a Gentleman, a descendant of 
Dame Quickly, from, genuine MSS. which have been in 
the possession of the Quickly Family near four hundred 
years. London : Robinsons, 1796 

A COPY of this work sold at the Roxburgh sale for five 
guineas. We have both before and since that time picked 
it up at stalls for eighteen pence. Reader, if you shall ever light 
upon a copy in the same way, we counsel you to buy it. We are 
deceived if there be not in it much of the true Shakspearian stufi^. 
We present you with a few of the Letters, which may speak for 
themselves : — 

Falstaff to the Prince 

"I pr'ythee, Hal, lend me thy 'kerchief. An thy unkindness 
have not started more salt gouts down my poor old cheek, than 
my good rapier hath of blood from foemen's gashes in five and 
thirty years' service, then am I a very senseless mummy. I squander 
away in drinkings monies belonging to the soldiery ! I do deny it 
they have had part — the surplus is gone in charity — accuse the 



192 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

parish officers — make them restore — the whoreson wardens do now 
put on the cloak of suppHcation at the church doors, intercepting 
gentlemen for charity, forsooth ! — 'Tis a robbery, a villainous rob- 
bery ! to come upon a gentleman reeking with piety, God's book in 
his hand, brimfull of the sacrament ! Thou knowest, Hal, as I am 
but man, I dare in some sort leer at the plate and pass, but as I 
have the body and blood of Christ within me, could I do it ? An 
I did not make an oblation of a matter of ten pound after the 
battle of Shrewsbury, in humble gratitude for thy safety, Hal, 
then am I the veriest transgressor denounced in God's code. But 
I'll see them damned ere I'll be charitable again. Let 'em coin the 
plate — let them coin the holy chalice. . . ." 

The Same to the Same 

" Ha ! ha ! ha ! And dost thou think I would not oiFer up ten 
pound for thee ? yea, a hundred — more — but take heed of displeas- 
ing in thy sacrifice. Cain did bring a kid, yea, a firstling upon the 
altar, and the blaze ascended not. Abel did gather simple herbs, 
penny-royal, Hal, and mustard, a fourpenny matter, and the odour 
was grateful. I had ten pound for the holy offertory — mine ancient 
Pistol doth know it — but the angel did arrest my hand. Could I 
go beyond the word ? — the angel which did stretch forth his finger, 
lest the good patriarch should slay his son. — That Ned Poins hath 
more colours than a jay, more abuse than a taught pie, and for wit 
— the cuckow's dam may be Fool of the Court to him. I lie down 
at Shrewsbury out of base fear ! I melt into roods, and acres, and 
poles ! I tell thee what, Hal, there's not a subject in the land hath 
half my temperance of valour. — Did I not see thee combating the 
man-queller. Hotspur ; yea, in peril of subduement ? Was it for 
me to lose my sweet Hal without a thrust, having my rapier, my 
habergion, my good self about me .? I did lie down in the hope of 
sherking him in the rib — four drummers and a fifer did help me to 
the ground : — didst thou not mark how I did leer upon thee from 
beneath my buckler ? That Poins hath more scurrility than is in 
a whole flock of disquieted geese. 

" For the rebels I did conceal, thou should'st give me laud. I 
did think thou wert already encompassed with more enemies than 
the resources of men could prevent overwhelming thee : yea, that 
thou wert the dove on the waters of Ararat, and didst lack a rest- 
ing-place. Was it for me to heap to thy manifold disquiets ? Was 
it for me to fret thee with the advice of more enemies than thou 
didst already know of ? I could not take their lives, and therefore 
did I take their monies. I did fine them, lest they should scape, 
Hal, thou dost understand me, without chastisement ; yea, I fined 



FOUE EEVIEWS 193 

them for a punishment. They did make oath on the point of my 
sword to be true men : — an the rogues forswore themselves, and 
joined the Welchman, let them look to it — 'tis no 'peachment of 
my virtue. . . ." 

Again 

" Oh ! I am setting on a nest of the most unfledged cuckows that 
ever brooded under the wing of hawk. Thou must know, Hal, I 
had note of a good hale recruit or two in this neighbourhood. In 
other shape came I not ; look to it, Master Shallow, that in other 
shape I depart not. But I know thou art ever all desire to be ad- 
mitted a Fellow Commoner in a jest. Robert Shallow, Esq. judgeth 
the hamlet of Cotswold. Doth not the name of judge horribly 
chill thee ? With Aaron's rod in his hand, he hath the white 
beard of Moses on his chin. In good sooth his perpetual counten- 
ance is not unlike what thou wouldst conceit of the momentary one 
of the lunatic Jew, when he tumbled God's tables from the mount. 
He hath a quick busy gait — more of this upright Judge (perpen- 
dicular as a pikeman's weapon, Hal,) anon. I would dispatch with 
these Bardolph ; but the knave's hands — (I cry thee mercy) his 
mouth is full in preventing desertion among my recruits. An 
every liver among them haven't stood me in three and forty 
shilling, then am I a naughty escheator. — I tell thee what, Hal, 
I'd fight against my conscience for never a Prince in Christendom 
but thee. — Oh ! this is a most damnable cause, and the rogues know 
it — they'll drink nothing but sack of three and twopence a gallon ; 
and I enUst me none but tall puissant fellows that would quaff me 
up Fleet-ditch, were it filled with sack — picked men, Hal — such as 
will shake my Lord of York's mitre. I pray thee, sweet lad, make 
speed — thou shalt see glorious deeds." 

How say you, reader, do not these inventions smack of Eastcheap.? 
Are they not nimble, forgetive [? fugitive], evasive ? Is not the 
humour of them elaborate, cogitabund, fanciful ? Carry they not 
the true image and superscription of the father which begat them ? 
Are they not steeped all over in character — subtle, profound, 
unctuous ? Is not here the very effigies of the Knight ? Could 
a counterfeit Jack Falstaff come by these conceits ? Or are you, 
reader, one who delights to drench his mirth in tears ? You are, 
or, peradventure, have been a lover ; a " dismissed bachelor," per- 
chance, one that is " lass-lorn." Come, then, and weep over the 
dying bed of such a one as thyself. Weep with us the death of 
poor Abraham Slender. 

VOL. I. — 13 



194 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

Davy to Shallow 

" Master Abram is dead, gone, your Worship, dead ! Master 
-Abram ! Oh ! good, your Worship, a's gone. A' never throve, 
isince a' came from Windsor — 'twas his death. I called him rebel, 
your Worship — but a' was all subject — -a' was subject to any babe, 
as much as a King — a' turned, like as it were the latter end of a 
lover's lute — a' was all peace and resignment — a' took delight in 
nothing but his Book of Songs and Sonnets — a' would go to the 
Stroud side under the large beech tree, and sing, 'till 'twas quite pity 
of our lives to mark him ; for his chin grew as long as a muscle. 
— Oh ! a' sung his soul and body quite away — a' was lank as any 
greyhound, and had such a scent ! I hid his love-songs among 
your Worship's law-books ; for I thought, if a' could not get at 
them, it might be to his quiet ; but a' snuffed them out in a 
moment. Good, your Worship, have the wise woman of Brent- 
ford secured — Master Abram may have been conjured — Peter 
Simple says, a' never looked up after a' sent for the wise woman. 
— Marry, a' was always given to look down afore his elders ; a' might 
do it, a' was given to it — your Worship knows it ; but then 'twas 
peak and pert with him, marry, in the turn of his heel. — A' died, 
your Worship, just about one, at the crow of the cock. — I thought 
how it was with him ; for a' talked as quick, ay, marry, as glib as 
your Worship ; and a' smiled, and looked at his own nose, and 
called 'Sweet Ann Page.' I asked him if a' would eat — so a' 
bad us commend him to his cousin Robert (a' never called your 
Worship so before) and bad us get hot meat, for a' would not say 
' nay' to Ann again. ^ But a' never lived to touch it — a' began all 
in a moment to sing ' Lovers all, a Madrigall.' 'Twas the only song 
Master Abram ever learnt out of book, and clean by heart, your 
Worship — and so a' sung, and smiled, and looked askew at his 
own nose, and sung, and sung on, till his breath waxed shorter, 
and shorter, and shorter, and a' fell into a struggle and died. 
Alice Shortcake craves, she may make his shroud. . . ." 

^ ^ ^ ^ i(c yft tIc ^ i(t tI^ 

Should these specimens fail to rouse your curiosity to see the 
whole, it may be to your loss, gentle reader, but it will give 
small pain to the spirit of him that wrote this little book; my 
fine-tempered friend, J. W. — for not in authorship, or the spirit of 
authorship, but from the fullness of a young soul, newly kindling 
at the Shakspearian flame, and bursting to be delivered of a rich 
exuberance of conceits, — I had almost said kindred with those of 
the full Shakspearian genius itself, — were these letters dictated. 
We remember when the inspiration came upon him ; when the 

' Vide, Merry Wives of Windsor, latter part of ist scene, ist act. 



FOUE REVIEWS 195 

plays of Henry the Fourth were first put into his hands. We 
think at our recommendation he read them, rather late in life, 
though still he was but a youth. He may have forgotten, but we 
cannot, the pleasant evenings which ensued at the Boar's Head (as 
we called our tavern, though in reality the sign was not that, nor 
the street Eastcheap, for that honoured place of resort has long 
since passed away) when over our pottle of Sherris he would talk 
you nothing but pure Falstaff the long evenings through. Like 
his, the wit of J. W. was deep, recondite, imaginative, full of 
goodly figures and fancies. Those evenings have long since passed 
away, and nothing comparable to them has come in their stead, or 
can come. " We have heard the chimes at midnight." 



* * * * 



II.— CHARLES LLOYD'S POEMS 

(1819) 

NuG-E Canor^. Poems by Charles Lloyd 

The reader who shall take up these poems in the mere expectation 
of deriving amusement for an idle hour, will have been grievously 
misled by the title. Nugce they certainly are not, but full of 
weight ; earnest, passionate communings of the spirit with itself. 
He that reads them must come to them in a serious mood ; he 
should be one that has descended into his own bosom ; that has 
probed his own nature even to shivering ; that has indulged the 
deepest yearnings of aiFection, and has had them strangely flung 
back upon him ; that has built to himself a fortress out of conscious 
weakness ; that has cleaved to the rock of his early religion, and 
through hope in it hath walked upon the uneasy waters. 

We should be sorry to convey a false notion. Mr. Lloyd's 
religion has little of pretence or sanctimoniousness about it ; it is 
worn as an armour of self-defence, not as a weapon of outward 
annoyance : the believing may be drawn by it, and the unbelieving 
need not be deterred. The Religionist of Nature may find some 
things to venerate in its mild Christianity, when he shall discover 
in a volume, generally hostile to new experiments in philosophy 
and morals, some of its tenderest pages dedicated to the virtues of 
Mary Wolstonecraft Godwin. 

Mr. Lloyd's poetry has not much in it that is narrative or 
dramatic. It is richer in natural description ; but the imagery 
is for the most part embodied with, and made subservient to, the 
sentiment, as in many of the sonnets, &c. His genius is meta- 
physical and profound ; his verses are made up of deep feeling, 
accompanied with the perpetual running commentary of his own 



196 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

deeper self-reflection. His affections seem to run kindliest in 
domestic channels ; and there are some strains, commemorative of 
a dead relative, which, while they do honour to the heart of the 
writer, are of too sacred a nature, we think, almost to have been 
committed to print at all; much less would they bear exposal 
among the miscellaneous matter indispensible to a public journal. 
We prefer therefore giving an extract from the fine blank verse 
poem, entitled Christinas. It is richly embued with the meditative, 
introspective cast of mind, so peculiar to this author : — 

There is a time 
When first sensation paints the burning cheek, 
Fills the moist eye, and quickens the keen pulse, 
That mystic meanings half conceiv'd invest 
The simplest forms, and all doth speak, all lives 
To the eager heart ! At such a time to me 
Thou cam'st, dear holiday ! Thy twilight glooms 
Mysterious thoughts awaken'd, and I mus'd 
As if possest, yea felt as I had known 
The dawn of inspiration. Then the days 
Were sanctified by feeling, all around 
Of an indwelling presence darkly spake. 
Silence had borrow'd sounds to cheat the soul I 
And, to the toys of life, the teeming brain, 
Impregning them with its own character, 
Gave preternatural import ; the dull face 
Was eloquent, and e'en the idle air 
Most potent shapes, varying and yet the same, 
Substantially express'd. 

But soon my heart, 
Unsatisfied with blissful shadows, felt 
Achings of vacancy, and own'd the throb 
Of undefin'd desire, while lays of love 
Firstling and wild stole to my trem'lous tongue. 
To me thy rites were mock'ry then, thy glee 
Of little worth. More pleas'd I trod the waste 
Sear'd with the sleety wind, and drank its blast ; 
Deeming thy dreary shapes most strangely sweet, 
Mist-shrouded winter ! in mute loneliness 
I wore away the day which others hail'd 
So cheerily, still usher'd in with chaunt 
Of carol, and the merry ringers' peal, 
Most musical to the good man that wakes 
And praises God in gladness. 

But soon fled 
The dreams of love fantastic 1 Still the Friend, 
The Friend, the wild roam o'er the drifted snows 
Remain unsung I then when the wintry view 
Objectless, mist-hidden, or in uncouth forms 
Prank'd by the arrowy flake might aptly yield 
New stores to shaping fantasy, I rov'd 
With him my lov'd companion I Oh, 'twas sweet ; 
Ye who have known the swell that heaves the breast 
Pregnant with loftiest poesy, declare 
Is aught more soothing to the charmed soul 
Than friendship's glow, the independent dream 



FOUR REVIEWS 197 

Gathering when all the frivolous shews are fled 
Of artificial life ; when the wild step 
Boundeth on wide existence, unbeheld, 
Uncheck'd, and the heart fashioneth its hope 
In Nature's school, while Nature bursts around. 
Nor Man her spoiler meddles in the scene I 
Farewell, dear day, much hath it sooth'd my heart 
To chaunt thy frail memorial. 

Now advance 
The darkening years, and I do sojourn, home ! 
From thee afar. Where the broad-bosom'd hills, 
Swept by perpetual clouds, of Scotland, rise. 
Me fate compels to tarry. 

Ditty quaint or custom'd carol, there my vacant ear 
Ne'er blest I I thought of home and happier days I 
And as I thought, my vexed spirit blam'd 
That austere race, who, mindless of the glee 
Of good old festival, coldly forbade 
Th' observance which of mortal life relieves 
The languid sameness, seeming too to bring 
Sanction from hoar antiquity and years 
Long past ! 



III.— BARRON FIELD'S POEMS 

(1820) 

"First Fruits of Australian Poetry" 

Sydney, New South Wales. Printed for Private Distribution 

I first adventure ; follow me who list ; 
And be the second Austral Harmonist. 

Whoever thou art that hast transplanted the British wood-notes 
to the far-off forest which the Kangaroo haunts — whether thou art 
some involuntary exile that solaces his sad estrangement with re- 
currence to his native notes, with more wisdom than those captive 
Hebrews of old refused to sing their Sion songs in a strange land — 
or whether, as we rather suspect, thou art that valued friend of 
ours, who, in thy young time of life, together with thy faithful 
bride, thy newly " wedded flower," didst, in obedience to the stem 
voice of duty, quit thy friends, thy family, thy pleasing avocations, 
the Muses with which thou wert as deeply smitten as any, we 
believe, in our age and country, to go and administer tedious 
justice in inauspicious unliterary Thiefland^ — we reclaim thee for 
our own, and gladly would transport thee back to thy native 
" fields," and studies congenial to thy habits. 

We know a merry Captain, and co-navigator with Cook, who 
prides himself upon having planted the first pun in Otaheite. It 

'An elegant periphrasis for the Bay. Mr. Coleridge led us the way — " Cloud- 
land, gorgeous land." 



198 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

was in their own language, and the islanders first looked at him, 
then stared at one another, and all at once burst out into a genial 
laugh. It was a stranger, and as a stranger they gave it welcome. 
Many a quibble of their own growth, we doubt not, has since 
sprung from that well-timed exotic. Where puns flourish, there 
must be no inconsiderable advance in civilization. The same good 
results we are willing to augur from this dawn of refinement at 
Sydney. They were beginning to have something like a theatrical 
establishment there, which we are sorry to hear has been suppressed ; 
for we are of opinion with those who think that a taste for such 
kind of entertainments is one remove at least from profligacy, 
and that Shakspeare and Gay may be as safe teachers of morality as 
the ordinary treatises which assume to instil that science. We have 
seen one of their play bills (while the thing was permitted to last) 
and were affected by it in no ordinary degree ; particularly in the 
omission of the titles of honour, which in this country are con- 
descendingly conceded to the players. In their Dramatis Personae 
Jobson was played by Smith ; Lady Loverule, Jones ; Nell, Wil- 
kinson : Gentlemen and Lady Performers alike curtailed of then- 
fair proportions. With a little patronage, we prophecy, that in a 
very few years the histrionic establishment of Sydney would have 
risen in respectability ; and the humble performers would, by tacit 
leave, or open permission, have been allowed to use the same en- 
couraging afiixes to their names, which dignify their prouder 
brethren and sisters in the mother country. What a moral ad- 
vancement, what a lift in the scale, to a Braham or a Stephens of 
New South Wales, to write themselves Mr. and Miss ! The King 
here has it not in his power to do so much for a Commoner, no, not 
though he dub him a Duke. 

The " First Fruits " consist of two poems. The first celebrates 
the plant epacris grandiflora ; but we are no botanists, and 
perhaps there is too much matter mixed up in it from the Mid- 
summer Night's Dream,, to please some readers. The thefts are 
indeed so open and palpable, that we almost recur to our first 
surmise, that the author must be some unfortunate wight, sent on 
his travels for plagiarisms of a more serious complexion. But the 
old matter and the new blend kindly together ; and must, we hope, 
have proved right acceptable to more than one 

-Among the Fair 



Of that young land of Shakspeare's tongue. 

We select for our readers the second poem ; and are mistaken, if 
it does not relish of the graceful hyperboles of our elder writers. 
We can conceive it to have been written by Andrew Marvel, sup- 
posing him to have been banished to Botany Bay, as he did, we 



FOUE REVIEWS 199 

believe, once meditate a voluntary exile to Bermuda. See his fine 
poem, " Where the remote Bermudas ride." 

* * * *_ 

"The Kangaroo" 

" mixtumque genus, prolesque biformis." — ViRO., JEn., vi. 

Kangaroo, Kangaroo ! 

Thou spirit of Australia, 

That redeems from utter failure. 

From perfect desolation. 

And warrants the creation 

Of this fifth part of the earth, 

Which would seem an after-birth, 

Not conceiv'd in the beginning 

(For God bless'd his work at first. 

And saw that it was good). 
But emerg'd at the first sinning. 
When the ground was therefore curst ; — 

And hence this barren wood 1 

Kangaroo, Kangaroo ! 

Tho' at first sight we should say, 

In thy nature that there may 

Contradiction be involv'd. 

Yet, like discord well resolv'd. 

It is quickly harmoniz'd. 

Sphynx or mermaid realiz'd. 

Or centaur unfabulous, 

Would scarce be more prodigious, 

[Or labyrinthine minotaur 

With which great Theseus did war,] 

Or Pegasus poetical. 

Or hippogriff — chimeras all ! 

But, what Nature would compile. 

Nature knows to reconcile ; 

And Wisdom, ever at her side. 

Of all her children's justified. 

She had made the squirrel fi-agile ; 
She had made the bounding hart ; 
But a third so strong and agile 
Was beyond ev'n Nature's art. 
So she join'd the former two 

In thee, Kangaroo ! 
To describe thee, it is hard : 
Converse of the cam^lopard. 
Which beginneth camel-wise. 
But endeth of the panther size, 
Thy fore half, it would appear. 
Had belong'd to " some small deer," 
Such as liveth in a tree ; 
By thy hinder, thou should'st be 
A large animal of chase, 
Bounding o'er the forest's space ; — 
Join'd by some divine mistake, 
None but Nature's hand can make — 
Nature, in her wisdom's play. 
On Creation's holiday. 



200 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

For howsoe'er anomalous, 
Thou yet art not incongruous, 
Repugnant or preposterous. 
Better-proportion'd animal, 
More graceful or ethereal, 
Was never foUow'd by the hound, 
With fifty steps to thy one bound. 
Thou canst not be amended : no ; 
Be as thou art ; thou best art so. 

When sooty swans are once more rare, 
And duck-moles ' the museum's care. 
Be still the glory of this land. 
Happiest work of finest hand 1 

IV.— KEATS' "LAMIA" 

(1820) 

Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of Saint Agnes, and Othee Poems 
By John Keats. Author of Endtmion 

A casement high and triple-arch'd there was. 
All garlanded with carven imag'ries 
Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of knot-grass. 
And diamonded with panes of quaint device. 
Innumerable of stains and splendid dyes, 
As are the tiger-moth's deep damask'd wings ; 
And in the midst, 'mong thousand heraldries, 
And twilight saints, and dim emblazonings, 
A shield'd scutcheon blush'd with blood of Queens and Kings. 

Full on this casement shone the wintry moon, 

And threw warm gules on Madeline's fair breast. 

As down she knelt for heaven's grace and boon ; 

Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together prest, 

And on her silver cross soft amethyst, 

And on her hair a glory, like a saint : 

She seem'd a splendid angel, newly drest. 
Save wings, for heaven [ : — Porphyro grew faint. 
She knelt, so pure a thing, so free from mortal taint 

Anon his heart revives :] her vespers done. 
Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees ; 
Unclasps her warmed jewels one by one; 
Loosens her fragrant boddice ; by degrees 
Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees : 
Half-hidden, like a mermaid in sea-weed. 
Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and sees. 
In fancy, fair Saint Agnes in her bed. 
But dares not look behind, or all the charm is fled. 

Soon, trembling in her soft and chilly nest, 
In sort of wakeful swoon, perplex'd she lay, 
Until the poppied warmth of sleep oppress'd 
Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued away ; 

' The cygnus niger of Juvenal is no rata avis in Australia ; and time has here 
given ample proof of the ornithorynchus iaradoxus. [Barron Field's note.] 



FOUR REVIEWS 201 

Flown, like a thought, until the morrow-day ; 
Blissfully haven'd both from joy and pain ; 
Clasp'd like a missal where swart Paynims pray ; 
Blinded alike from sunshine and from rain, 
As though a rose should shut, and be a bud again. 

Such is the description which Mr. Keats has given us, with a 
dehcacy worthy of Christabel, of a high-born damsel, in one of the 
apartments of a baronial castle, laying herself down devoutly to 
dream, on the charmed Eve of St. Agnes ; and like the radiance, 
which comes from those old windows upon the limbs and garments 
of the damsel, is the almost Chaucer-like painting, with which this 
poet illumes every subject he touches. We have scarcely any thing 
like it in modern description. It brings us back to ancient days, 
and 

Beauty making-beautiful old rhymes. 

The finest thing in the volume is the paraphrase of Boccaccio's 
story of the Pot of Basil. Two Florentines, merchants, discovering 
that their sister Isabella has placed her affections upon Lorenzo, a 
young factor in their employ, when they had hopes of procuring 
for her a noble match, decoy Lorenzo, under pretence of a ride, 
into a wood, where they suddenly stab and bury him. The antici- 
pation of the assassination is wonderfully conceived in one epithet, 
in the narration of the ride — 

So the two brothers, and their murder'd man. 

Rode past fair Florence, to where Arno's stream 
Gurgles 

Returning to their sister, they delude her with a story of their 
having sent Lorenzo abroad to look after their merchandises ; but 
the spirit of her lover appears to Isabella in a dream, and discovers 
how and where he was stabbed, and the spot where they have 
buried him. To ascertain the truth of the vision, she sets out to 
the place, accompanied by her old nurse, ignorant as yet of her 
wild purpose. Her arrival at it, and digging for the body, is 
described in the following stanzas, than which there is nothing 
more awfully simple in diction, more nakedly grand and moving in 
sentiment, in Dante, in Chaucer, or in Spenser : — 

She gaz'd into the fresh-thrown mould, as though 

One glance did fully all its secrets tell ; 
Clearly she saw, as other eyes would know 

Pale limbs at bottom of a crystal well ; 
Upon the murderous spot she seem'd to grow 

Like to a native lily of the dell : 
Then with her knife, all sudden, she began 
To dig more fervently than misers can. 



202 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

Soon she turn'd up a soiled glove, whereon 

Her silk had play'd in purple fantasies, 
She kiss'd it with a lip more chill than stone. 

And put it in her bosom, where it dries 
And freezes utterly unto the bone 

Those dainties made to still an infant's cries : 
Then 'gan she work again ; nor stay'd her care. 
But to throw back at times her veiling hair. 

That old nurse stood beside her wondering, 

Until her heart felt pity to the core 
At sight of such a dismal labouring, 

And so she kneeled, with her locks all hoar, 
And put her lean hands to the horrid thing : 

Three hours they labour'd at this travail sore ; 
At last they felt the kernel of the grave, 
And Isabella did not stamp and rave. 

To pursue the story in prose : — They find the body, and with 
their joint strengths sever from it the head, which Isabella takes 
home, and wrapping it in a silken scarf, entombs it in a garden- 
pot, covers it with mould, and over it she plants sweet basil, which, 
watered with her tears, thrives so that no other basil tufts in all 
Florence throve like her basil. How her brothers, suspecting 
something mysterious in this herb, which she watched day and 
night, at length discover the head, and secretly convey the basil 
from her ; and how from the day that she loses her basil she pines 
away, and at last dies [—for this], we must refer our readers tO' 
the poem, or to the divine germ of it in Boccaccio. It is a great 
while ago since we read the original ; and in this affecting revival 
of it we do but 

Weep again a long-forgotten woe. 

More exuberantly rich in imagery and painting is the story of the 
Lamia. It is of as gorgeous stuff as ever romance was composed of. 
Her first appearance in serpentine form — 

a beauteous wreath with melancholy eyes — 



her dialogue with Hermes, the Star of Lethe, as he is called by 
one of these prodigal phrases which Mr. Keats abounds in, which 
are each a poem in a word, and which in this instance lays 
open to us at once, like a picture, all the dim regions and their 
inhabitants, and the sudden coming of a celestial among them ; 
the charming of her into woman's shape again by the God ; her 
marriage with the beautiful Lycius ; her magic palace, which those 
who knew the street, and remembered it complete from childhood, 
never remembered to have seen before ; the few Persian mutes, her 
attendants. 



who that same year 

Were seen about the markets : none knew where 
They could inhabit ; 



SIR THOMAS MOEE 203 

the high -wrought splendours of the nuptial bower, with the fading 
of the whole pageantry, Lamia, and all, away, before the glance of 
ApoUonius, — are all that fairy land can do for us. They are for 
younger impressibilities. To us an ounce of feeling is worth a 
pound of fancy; and therefore we recur again, with a warmer 
gratitude, to the story of Isabella and the pot of basil, and those 
never-cloying stanzas which we have cited, and which we think 
should disarm criticism, if it be not in its nature cruel ; if it would 
not deny to honey its sweetness, nor to roses redness, nor light to 
the stars in Heaven ; if it would not bay the moon out of the skies, 
rather than acknowledge she is fair. 



SIR THOMAS MORE 

(1820) 

OF the writings ot this distinguished character little is re- 
membered at present beyond his Eutopia, and some 
Epigrams. But there is extant a massive folio of his Theological 
Works in English, partly Practical Divinity, but for the greater 
part Polemic, against the grand Lutheran Heresy, just then 
beginning to flower. From these I many years ago made some 
extracts, rejecting only the antiquated orthography, (they being 
intended only for my own amusement) except in some instances of 
proper names, &c. I send them you as I find them, thinking that 
some of your readers may consider them as curious. The first is 
from a Tract against Tyndale, called the Confutation of Tyndale's 
Answer.^ The author of Religio Medici somewhere says, " his 
conscience would give him the lye, if/iie should say that he absolutely 
detested or hated any essence but the Devil." Whether Browne 
was not out in his metaphysics, when he supposed himself capable 
of hating, that is, entertaining a personal aversion to, a being so 
abstracted, or such a Concrete of all irreconcileable abstractions 
rather, as usually passes for the meaning of that name, I contend 
not ; but that the same hatred in kind, which he professed against 
our great spiritual enemy, was in downright earnest cultivated and 
defended by More against that portentous phenomenon in those 
times, a Heretic, from his speeches against Luther and Tyndale 
cannot for a moment be doubted. His account of poor Hytton 

' To some foregone Tract of Mora's, of which I have lost the title. 



204 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

which follows (a reformado priest of the day) is penned with a wit 
and malice hyper-satanic. It is infinitely diverting in the midst of 
its diabolism, if it be not rather, what Coleridge calls. 

Too wicked for a smile, too foolish for a tear. 

'now to the intent that ye may somewhat see what good 



Christian faith Sir Thomas Hytton was of, this new saint of 
Tindale's canonization, in whose burning Tindale so gaily glorieth, 
and which hath his holiday so now appointed to him, that St. 
Polycarpus must give him place in the Calendar, I shall somewhat 
show you what wholesome heresies this holy martyr held. First ye 
shall understand, that he was a priest, and falling to Luther's sect, 
and after that to the sect of Friar Huskin and Zwinglius, cast off 
matins and mass, and all divine service, and so became an apostle, 
sent to and fro, between our English heretics beyond the sea, and 
such as were here at home. Now happed it so, that after he had 
visited here his holy congregations in divers corners and luskes 
lanes, and comforted them in the Lord to stand stiff with the devil 
in their errors and heresies, as he was going back again at Graves- 
end, God considering the great labour that he had taken already, 
and determining to bring his business to his well-deserved end, 
gave him suddenly such a favour and so great a grace in the 
visage, that every man that beheld him took him for a thief. 
For whereas there had been certain linen clothes pilfered away 
that were hanging on an hedge, and Sir Thomas Hytton was 
walking not far off suspiciously in the meditation of his 
heresies : the people doubting that the beggarly knave had stolen 
the clouts, fell in question with him and searched him, and so 
found they certain letters secretly conveyed in his coat, written 
from evangelical brethren here unto the evangelical heretics beyond 
the sea. And upon those letters founden, he was with his letters 
brought before the most Rev. Father in God the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, and afterward as well by his Lordship as by the Rev. 
Father the Bishop of Rochester examined, and after for his abomin- 
able heresies delivered to the secular hands and burned." 

What follows (from the same Tract) is mildened a little by the 
introduction of the name of Erasmus, More's intimate friend ; 
though by the sting in the rear of it, it is easy to see, that it was 
to a little temporising only, and to some thin politic partitions 
from these Reformers, that Erasmus owed his exemption from the 
bitter anathemas More had in store for them. The love almost 
make the hate more shocking by the contrast ! 

" Then he (Tyndale) asketh me why I have not contended 



with Erasmus, whom he calleth my darling, of all this long while. 



SIE THOMAS MOKE 205 

for translating of this word ecclesia into this word congregatio. 
And then he cometh forth with his feat proper taunt, that I favour 
him of likehhood for making of his Book of MORIA in my house. 
There had he hit me, lo ! save for lack of a little salt. I have not 
contended with Erasmus my darling, because I found no such 
malicious intent with Erasmus my darling, as I find with Tyndale. 
For had I found with Erasmus my darling the shrewd intent and 
purpose, that I find in Tyndale, Erasmus my darling should be no 
more my darling. But I find in Erasmus my darling, that he 
detesteth and abhorreth the errors and heresies, that Tyndale 
plainly teacheth and abideth by, and therefore Erasmus my darling 
shall be my dear darling still. And surely if Tyndale had either 
never taught them, or yet had the grace to revoke them, then should 
Tyndale be my dear darling too. But while he holdeth such 
heresies still, I cannot take for my darling him that the devil 
taketh for his darling." 

The next extract is from a " Dialogue concerning Heresies," and 
has always struck me as a master-piece of eloquent logic, and some- 
thing in the manner of Burke, when he is stripping a sophism 
sophistically ; as he treats Paine, and others passim. 

" And not to be of the foolish mind that Luther is, which 

wished in a sermon of his, that he had in his hand all the pieces of 
the holy cross, and saith that, if he so had, he would throw 
them there as never sun should shine on them. And for what 
worshipful reason would the wretch do such villainy to the cross 
of Christ .'' because, as he saith, that there is so much gold now 
bestowed about the garnishing of the pieces of the cross, that there 
is none left for poor folk. Is not this an high reason ? as though 
all the gold, that is now bestowed about the pieces of the holy 
cross, would not have failed to have been given to poor men, if 
they had not been bestowed about the garnishing of the cross. 
And as though there were nothing lost, but that is bestowed about 
Christ's cross. Take all the gold, that is spent about all the pieces 
of Christ's cross through Christendom (albeit many a good Christen 
prince, and other goodly people, hath honourably garnished many 
pieces thereof), yet, if all the gold were gathered together, it would 
appear a poor portion, in comparison of the gold that is bestowed 
upon cups. What speak we of cups .'' in which the gold, albeit that 
it be not given to poor men, yet is it saved, and may be given in 
alms when men will, which they never will ; how small a portion, 
ween we, were the gold about all the pieces of Christ's cross, if it 
were compared with the gold that is quite cast away about the 
gilting of knives, swords, spurs, arras, and painted clothes : and 
(as though these things could not consume gold fast enough) 



206 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

the gilting of posts, and whole roofs, not only in palaces of princes 
and great prelates, but also many right mean men's houses. And 
yet, among all these things, could Luther spy no gold that griev- 
ously glittered in his bleared eyes, but only about the cross 
of Christ. — For that gold, if it were thence, the wise man weeneth, 
it would be straight given to poor men, and that where he daily 
see'th, that such as have their purse full of gold, give to the poor 
not one piece thereof; but, if they give ought, they ransack the 
bottom among all the gold, to seek out here an halfpenny, or in 
his country a brass penny whereof four make a farthing : such 
goodly causes find they, that pretend holiness for the colour of 
their cloaked heresies." [Book I., Chapter 2.] 

I subjoin from the same "Dialogue" More's cunning defence of 
Miracles done at Saints' shrines, on Pilgrimages, &c. all which he 
defends, as he was bound by holy church to do, most stoutly. The 
manner of it is arch and surprising, and the narration infinitely 
naive ; the matter is the old fallacy of confounding miracles (things 
happening out of nature) with natural things, the grounds of which 
we cannot explain. In this sense every thing is a miracle, and 
nothing is. 

" And first if men should tell you, that they saw before an 

image of the crucifix a dead man raised to life, ye would much 
marvel thereof, and so might ye well ; yet could I tell you some- 
what that I have seen myself, that methinketh as great marvel, 
but I have no lust to tell you, because that ye be so circumspect 
and ware in belief of any miracles, that ye would not believe it for 
me, but mistrust me for it. 

" Nay, Sir (quod he), in good faith, if a thing seemed to me 
never so far unlikely, yet if ye would earnestly say that yourself 
have seen it, I neither would nor could mistrust it. 

" Well (quod I), then ye may make me the bolder to tell ye. 
And yet will I tell you nothing, but that I would, if need were, 
find you good witness to prove it. 

" It shall not need. Sir (quod he), but I beseech you let me hear it. 

" Forsooth (quod I), because we speak of a man raised from 
death to life. There was in the parish of St. Stephen's in Wal- 
brook, in London, where I dwelled before I come to Chelsith, a 
man and a woman, which are yet quick and quething, and young 
were they both. The eldest I am sure passeth not twenty-four. It 
happed them, as doth among folk, the one to cast the mind to the 
other. And after many lets, for the maiden's mother was much 
against it, at last they came together, and were married in St. 
Stephen's church, which is not greatly famous for any miracles, 
but yet yearly on St. Stephen's day it is somewhat sought unto 
and visited with folk's devotion. But now short tale to make. 



SIR THOMAS MORE 207 

"this young woman (as manner is in brides ye wot well) was at 
night brought to bed with honest women. And then after that 
went the bridegroom to bed, and every body went their ways, and 
left them twain there alone. And the same night, yet abide let 
me not lie, now in faith to say the truth I am not very sure of the 
time, but surely as it appeared afterward, it was of likelihood the 
^ame night, or some other time soon after, except it happened a 
little before. 

" No force for the time (quod he). 

"Truth (quod I), and as for the matter, all the parish will 
"testify for truth, the woman was known for so honest. But for the 
.conclusion, the seed of them twain turned in the woman's body, 
first into blood, and after into shape of manchild. And then 
waxed quick, and she great therewith. And was within the year 
delivered of a fair boy, and forsooth it was not then (for I saw it 
myself) passing the length of a foot. And I am sure he has grown 
now an inch longer than I. 

" How long is it ago ? (quod he). 

" By my faith (quod I) about twenty-one years. 

" Tush ! (quod he), this is a worthy miracle ! 

" In good faith (quod I), never wist I that any man could tell 
that he had any other beginning. And methinketh that this is as 
great a miracle as the raising of a dead man." [Book I., Chapter 10.] 

Diabolical Possession was a rag of the old abomination, which 
-this Contunder of Heresies thought himself obliged no less to wrap 
tightly about the loins of his faith, than any of the splendiores 
panni of the old red Harlot. But (read with allowance for the belief 
-of the times) the narrative will be found affecting, particularly in 
what relates to the parents of the damsel, " rich, and sore abashed.'' 

"Amongst which (true miracles) I durst boldly tell you 

for one, the wonderful work of God, that was within these few 
years wrought, in the house of a right worshipful knight, Sir Roger 
Wentworth, upon divers of his children, and specially one of his 
daughters, a very fair young gentlewoman of twelve years of age, 
in marvellous manner vexed and tormented by our ghostly enemy 
the devil, her mind alienated and raving with despising and blas- 
phemy of God, and hatred of all hallowed things, with knowledge 
and perceiving of the hallowed firom the unhallowed, all were she 
nothing warned thereof. And after that moved in her own mind, 
and monished by the will of God, to go to our Lady of Ippis- 
witche. In the way of which pilgrimage, she prophesied and told 
many things done and said at the same time in other places, which 
were proved true, and many things said, lying in her trance, of 
such wisdom and learning, that right cunning men highly marvelled 



208 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

to hear of so young an unlearned maiden, when herself wist not 
what she said, such things uttered and spoken, as well learned 
men might have missed with a long study, and finally being 
brought and laid before the Image of our Blessed Lady, was there 
in the sight of many worshipful people so grievously tormented, 
and in face, eyen, look and countenance, so griesly changed, and 
her mouth drawn aside, and her eyen laid out upon her cheeks, 
that it was a terrible sight to behold. And after many marvellous 
things at the same time shewed upon divers persons by the devil 
through God's sufferance, as well all the remnant as the maiden 
herself, in the presence of all the company, restored to their good 
state perfectly cured and suddenly. And in this matter no pretext 
of begging, no suspicion of feigning ? no possibility of counter- 
feiting, no simpleness in the seers, her father and mother right 
honourable and rich, sore abashed to see such chances in their 
children, the witnesses great number, and many of great worship, 
wisdom and good experience, the maid herself too young to feign 
[and the fashion itself too strange for any man to feign], 
and the end of the matter virtuous, the virgin so moved in her 
mind with the miracle, that she forthwith for aught her father 
could do, forsook the world, and professed religion in a very good 
and godly company at the Mynoresse, where she hath lived well 
and graciously ever since." [Book I., Chapter 16.] 

I shall trouble you with one Excerpt more, from a " Dialogue of 
Comfort against Tribulation ; " because the style of it is solemn 
and weighty ; and because it was written by More in his last 
imprisonment in the Tower, preparatory to his sentence. After 
witnessing his treatment of Sir John Hytton, and his brethren, we 
shall be inclined to mitigate some of our remorse, that More should 
have suffered death himself for conscience sake. The reader will 
not do this passage justice, if he do not read it as part of a 
sermon ; and as putting himself into the feelings of an auditory of 
More's Creed and Times. 

-" But some men now when this calling of God [any 



tribulation] causeth them to be sad, they be loth to leave their 
sinful lusts that hang in their hearts, and specially if they have 
any such kind of living, as they must needs leave off, or fall 
deeper in sin : or if they have done so many great wrongs, 
that they have many 'mends to make, that must (if they follow 
God) 'minish much their money, then are these folks (alas) 
woefully bewrapped, for God pricketh upon them of his great good- 
ness still, and the grief of this great pang pincheth them at the 
heart, and of wickedness they wry away, and fro this tribulation 
they turn to their flesh for help, and labour to shake off this thought, 
and then they mend their pillow, and lay their head softer, and 



CONFESSIONS OF H. F. V. H. DELAMOEE 209 

assay to sleep ; and when that will not be, then they find a talk 
awhile with them that lie by them. If that cannot be neither, then 
they lie and long for day, and then get them forth about their 
worldly wretchedness, the matter of their prosperity, the self-same 
sinful things with which they displease God most, and at length 
with many times using this manner, God utterly casteth them off. 
And then they set nought neither by God nor Devil. * * * But alas ! 
when death cometh, then cometh again their sorrow, then will no 
soft bed serve, nor no company make him merry, then must he leave 
his outward worship and comfort of his glory, and lie panting in his 
bed as if he were on a pine-bank, then cometh his fear of his evil 
life and his dreadful death. Then cometh the torment, his cum- 
bered conscience and fear of his heavy judgment. Then the devil 
draweth him to despair with imagination of hell, and sufFereth him 
not then to take it for a fable. And yet if he do, then findeth it 
the wretch no fable. * * * Some have I seen even in their last sick- 
ness set up in their death-bed underpropped with pillows, take their 
play-fellows to them, and comfort themselves with cards, and this 
they said did ease them well to put fantasies out of their heads ; 
and what fantasies trow you ? such as I told you right now of, their 
own lewd life and peril of their soul, of heaven and of hell that 
irked them to think of, and therefore cast it out with cards' play as 
long as ever they might, till the pure pangs of death pulled their 
heart fro their play, and put them in the case they could not reckon 
their game. And then left them their gameners, and slily slunk 
away, and long was it not ere they galped up the ghost. And what 
game they came then to, that God knoweth and not I. I pray 
God it were good, but I fear it very sore." 



THE CONFESSIONS OF H. F. V. H. DELAMORE, Esq. 

(1821.) 

Sackville-street, 2$ih March, 1821. 

MR. EDITORj — A correspondent in your last Number,^ 
blesses his stars, that he was never yet in the pillory ; and, 
with a confidence which the uncertainty of mortal accidents but 
weakly justifies, goes on to predict that he never shall be. Twelve 

1 Elia : — Chapter on Ears. 
VOL. I. — 14 



210 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

years ago, had a Sibyl prophesied to me, that I should live to be 
set in a worse place, I should have struck her for a lying beldam. 
There are degradations below that which he speaks of. 

I come of a good stock, Mr. Editor. The Delamores are a race 
singularly tenacious of their honour ; men who, in the language of 
Edmund Burke, feel a stain like a wound. My grand uncle died 
of a fit of the sullens for the disgrace of a public whipping at 
Westminster. He had not then attained his fourteenth year. 
Would I had died young ! ' 

For more than five centuries, the current of our blood hath 
flowed unimpeachably. And must it stagnate now ? 

Can a family be tainted backwards ? — can posterity purchase dis- 
grace for their progenitors ? — or doth it derogate from the great 
Walter of our name, who received the sword of knighthood in 

Cressy field, that one of his descendants once sate * * * * * 

* ♦ * * * * p 

Can an honour, fairly achieved in quinto Edwardi Tertii, be 
reversed by a slip in quinquagesimo Georgii Tertii ? — how stands 
the law ? — what dictum doth the college deliver ? — O Clarencieux ! 
O Norroy ! 

Can a reputation, gained by hard watchings on the cold ground, 
in a suit of mail, be impeached by hard watchings on the cold 
ground in other circumstances — was the endurance equal ? — why is 
the guerdon so disproportionate? 

A priest mediated the ransom of the too valorous Reginald, of 
our house, captived in Lord Talbot's battles. It was a clergyman, 
who by his intercession abridged the period of my durance. 

Have you touched at my wrongs yet, Mr. Editor ? — or must I be 
explicit as to my grievance ? 

Hush, my heedless tongue. 

Something bids me — " Delamore, be ingenuous." 

Once then, and only once 

Star of my nativity, hide beneath a cloud, while I reveal it ! 

Ancestors of Delamore, lie low in your wormy beds, that no 
posthumous hearing catch a sound ! 

Let no eye look over thee, while thou shalt peruse it, reader ! 

Once — 

these legs, with Kent in the play, though for far less ennobling 
considerations, did wear " cruel garters." 

Yet I protest it was but for a thing of nought — a fault of youth, 
and warmer blood — a calendary inadvertence I may call it — or 
rather a temporary obliviousness of the day of the week — timing 
my Saturnalia amiss. 

Streets of Barnet, infamous for civil broils, ye saw my shame ! 

did not your Red Rose rise again to dye my burning cheek ? 



THE GENTLE GIANTESS 211 

It was but for a pair of minutes, or so — yet I feel, I feel, that 

the gentry of the Delamores is extinguished for ever. 

Try to forget it, reader. 

(Signed) Henry Francis Vere Harrington Delamokk. 



THE GENTLE GIANTESS 

(1822) 

THE widow Blacket, of Oxford, is the largest female I ever 
had the pleasure of beholding. There may be her parallel 
upon the earth, but surely I never saw it. I take her to be lineally 
descended from the maid's aunt of Brainford, who caused Master 
Ford such uneasiness. She hath Atlantean shoulders ; and, as 
she stoopeth in her gait — with as few offences to answer for in 
her own particular as any of Eve's daughters — her back seems 
broad enough to bear the blame of all the peccadillos that have 
been committed since Adam. She girdeth her waist — or what she 
is pleased to esteem as such — nearly up to her shoulders, from be- 
neath which, that huge dorsal expanse, in mountainous declivity, 
emergeth. Respect for her alone preventeth the idle boys, who 
follow her about in shoals, whenever she cometh abroad, from 
getting up and riding. — But her presence infallibly commands a 
reverence. She is indeed, as the Americans would express it, some- 
thing awful. Her person is a burthen to herself, no less than to 
the ground which bears her. To her mighty bone, she hath a 
pinguitude withal, which makes the depth of winter to her the most 
desirable season. Her distress in the warmer solstice is pitiable. 
During the months of July and August, she usually renteth a 
cool cellar, where ices are kept, whereinto she descendeth when 
Sirius rageth. She dates from a hot Thursday — some twenty-five 
years ago. Her apartment in summer is pervious to the four winds. 
Two doors, in north and south direction, and two windows, fronting 
the rising and the setting sun, never closed, from every cardinal 
point, catch the contributory breezes. She loves to enjoy what 
she calls a quadruple draught. That must be a shrewd zephyr, 
that can escape her. I owe a painful face-ach, which oppresses me 
at this moment, to a cold caught, sitting by her, one day in last 
July, at this receipt of coolness. Her fan in ordinary resembleth 
a banner spread, which she keepeth continually on the alert to 



212 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

detect the least breeze. She possesseth an active and gadding 
mind, totally incommensurate with her person. No one delighteth 
more than herself in country exercises and pastimes. I have passed 
many an agreeable holiday with her in her favourite park at 
Woodstock. She performs her part in these delightful ambula- 
tory excursions by the aid of a portable garden chair. She setteth 
out with you at a fair foot gallop, which she keepeth up till you 
are both well breathed, and then she reposeth for a few seconds. 
Then she is up again, for a hundred paces or so, and again resteth 
— her movement, on these sprightly occasions, being something be- 
tween walking and flying. Her great weight seemeth to propel her 
forward, ostrich-fashion. In this kind of relieved marching I have 
traversed with her many scores of acres on these well- wooded and well- 
watered domains. Her delight at Oxford is in the public walks and 
gardens, where, when the weather is not too oppressive, she passeth 
much of her valuable time. There is a bench at Maudlin, or rather, 
situated between the frontiers of that and ***** *'s college 
— some litigation latterly, about repairs, has vested the property of it 
finally Jn * * * * * *'s — where at the hour of noon she is ordinarily 
to be found sitting — so she calls it by courtesy — but in fact, press- 
ing and breaking of it down with her enormous settlement ; as both 
those Foundations, who, however, are good-natured enough to wink 
at it, have found, I believe, to their cost. Here she taketh the 
fresh air, principally at vacation times, when the walks are freest 
from interruption of the younger fry of students. Here she passeth 
her idle hours, not idly, but generally accompanied with a book — 
blest if she can but intercept some resident Fellow (as usually there 
are some of that brood left behind at these periods) ; or stray 
Master of Arts (to most of them she is better known than their 
dinner bell) ; with whom she may confer upon any curious topic of 
literature. I have seen these shy gownsmen, who truly set but a 
very slight value upon female conversation, cast a hawk's eye upon 
her from the length of Maudlin grove, and warily glide off into 
another walk — true monks as they are, and ungently neglecting 
the delicacies of her polished convei-se, for their own perverse and 
uncommunicating solitariness ! Within doors her principal diversion 
is music, vocal and instrumental, in both which she is no mean pro- 
fessor. Her voice is wonderfully fine ; but till I got used to it, 
I confess it staggered me. It is for all the world like that of a 
piping bulfinch, while from her size and stature you would expect 
notes to drown the deep organ. The shake, which most fine singers 
reserve for the close or cadence, by some unaccountable flexibility, 
or tremulousness of pipe, she carrieth quite through the composi- 
tion ; so that her time, to a common air or ballad, keeps double 
motion, like the earth — running the primary circuit of the tune. 



LETTER TO AN OLD GENTLEMAN 213 

and still revolving upon its own axis. The effect, as I said before, 
when you are used to it, is as agreeable as it is altogether new and 
surprising. The spacious apartment of her outward frame lodgeth 
a soul in all respects disproportionate. Of more than mortal make, 
she evinceth withal a trembling sensibility, a yielding infirmity of 
purpose, a quick susceptibility to reproach, and all the train of 
diffident and blushing virtues, which for their habitation usually 
seek out a feeble frame, an attenuated and meagre constitution. 
With more than man's bulk, her humours and occupations are 
eminently feminine. She sighs — being six foot high. She lan- 
guisheth — being two feet wide. She worketh slender sprigs upon 
the delicate muslin — her fingers being capable of moulding a 
Colossus. She sippeth her wine out of her glass daintily — her 
capacity being that of a tun of Heidelburg. She goeth mincingly 
with those feet of hers — whose solidity need not fear the black ox's 
pressure. Softest, and largest of thy sex, adieu ! by what parting 
attribute may I salute thee — last and best of the Titanesses — 
Ogress, fed with milk instead of blood — not least, or least hand- 
some, among Oxford's stately structures — Oxford, who, in its 
deadest time of vacation, can never properly be said to be 
empty, having thee to fill it. 

Elia. 



LETTER TO AN OLD GENTLEMAN WHOSE EDUCA- 
TION HAS BEEN NEGLECTED 

To the Editor of the London Magazine 
(1823) 

DEAR SIR, — I send you a bantering Epistle to an Old Gentle- 
man whose Education is supposed to have been Neglected. 
Of course, it was suggested by some Letters of your admirable 
Opium-Eater; the discontinuance of which has caused so much 
regret to myself in common with most of your readers. You will 
do me injustice by supposing, that in the remotest degree it was 
my intention to ridicule those Papers. The fact is, the most serious 
things may give rise to an innocent burlesque ; and the more serious 
they are, the fitter they become for that purpose. It is not to be 
supposed, that Charles Cotton did not entertain a very high regard 
for Virgil, notwithstanding he travestied that Poet. Yourself can 



214 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

testify the deep respect I have always held for the profound learn- 
ing and penetrating genius of our friend. Nothing upon earth 
would give me greater pleasure than to find that he has not lost 
sight of his entertaining and instructive purpose. 

I am, dear Sir, yours and his sincerely, 

Elia. 

My dear Sir, — The question which you have done me the honour 
to propose to me, through the medium of our common friend Mr. 
Grierson, I shall endeavour to answer with as much exactness as a 
limited observation and experience can warrant. 

You ask — or rather, Mr. Grierson in his own interesting language 
asks for you — " Whether a person at the age of sixty-three, with 
no more proficiency than a tolerable knowledge of most of the char- 
acters of the English alphabet at first sight amounts to, by dint of 
persevering application, and good masters, — a docile and ingenuous 
disposition on the part of the pupil always pre-supposed — may 
hope to arrive, within a presumable number of years, at that degree 
of attainments, which shall entitle the possessor to the character, 
which you are on so many accounts justly desirous of acquiring, of 
a learned man." 

This is fairly and candidly stated, — only I could wish that on 
one point you had been a little more explicit. In the mean time, 
I will take it for granted, that by a " knowledge of the alphabetic 
characters," you confine your meaning to the single powers only, 
as you are silent on the subject of the diphthongs, and harder 
combinations. 

Why truly, Sir, when I consider the vast circle of sciences— it is 
not here worth while to trouble you with the distinction between 
learning and science — which a man must be understood to have 
made the tour of in these days, before the world will be willing to 
concede to him the title which you aspire to, I am almost disposed 
to reply to your inquiry by a direct answer in the negative. 

However, where all cannot be compassed, a great deal that is 
truly valuable may be accomplished. I am unwilling to throw out 
any remarks that should have a tendency to damp a hopeful genius ; 
but I must not in fairness conceal from you, that you have much to 
do. The consciousness of difficulty is sometimes a spur to exer- 
tion. Rome — or rather, my dear Sir, to borrow an illustration 
from a place, as yet more familiar to you — Rumford — Rumford — was 
not built in a day. 

Your mind as yet, give me leave to tell you, is in the state of a 
sheet of white paper. We must not blot or blur it over too hastily. 
Or, to use an opposite simile, it is like a piece of parchment all be- 
scrawled and be-.gcribbled over with characters of no sense or import, 



LETTEE TO AN OLD GENTLEMAN 215 

which we must carefully erase and remove, before we can make way 
for the authentic characters or impresses, which are to be substi- 
tuted in their stead by the con-ective hand of science. 

Your mind, my dear Sir, again resembles that same parchment, 
which we will suppose a little hardened by time and disuse. We 
may apply the characters, but are we sure that the ink will sink ? 

You are in the condition of a traveller, that has all his journey 
to begin. And again, you are worse off than the traveller which I 
have supposed — for you have already lost your way. 

You have much to learn, which you have never been taught ; 
and more, I fear, to unlearn, which you have been taught errone- 
ously. You have hitherto, I dare say, imagined, that the sun 
moves round the earth. When you shall have mastered the true 
solar system, you will have quite a different theory upon that point, 
I assure you. I mention but this instance. Your own experience, 
as knowledge advances, will furnish you with many parallels. 

I can scarcely approve of the intention, which Mr. Grierson in- 
forms me you had contemplated,- of entering yourself at a common 
seminary, and working your way up from the lower to the higher 
forms with the children. I see more to admire in the modesty, than 
in the expediency, of such a resolution. I own I cannot reconcile 
myself to the spectacle of a gentleman at your time of life seated, 
as must be your case at first, below a Tyro of four or five — for at 
that early age the rudiments of education usually commence in this 
country. I doubt whether more might not be lost in the point of 
fitness, than would be gained in the advantages which you propose 
to yourself by this scheme. 

You say, you stand in need of emulation ; that this incitement is 
no where to be had but at a public school ; that you should be 
more sensible of your progress by comparing it with the daily pro- 
gress of those around you. But have you considered the nature of 
emulation ; and how it is sustained at those tender years, which 
you would have to come in competition with ? I am afraid you 
are dreaming of academic prizes and distinctions. Alas ! in the 
university, for which you are preparing, the highest medal would 
be a silver penny, and you must graduate in nuts and oranges. 

I know that Peter, the Great Czar — or Emperor — of Muscovy, 
submitted himself to the discipline of a dock-yard at Deptford, 
that he might learn, and convey to his countrymen, the noble art 
of shipbuilding. You are old enough to remember him, or at least 
to talk about him. I call to mind also other great princes, who, 
to instruct themselves in the theory and practice of war, and set 
an example of subordination to their subjects, have condescended 
to enrol themselves as private soldiers ; and, passing through the 
successive ranks of corporal, quarter-master, and the rest, have 



216 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

served their way up to the station, at which most princes are will- 
ing enough to set out — of General and Commander-in-Chief over 
their own forces. But — besides that there is oftentimes great sham 
and pretence in their show of mock humility — the competition 
which they stooped to was with their co-evals, however inferior to 
them in birth. Between ages so very disparate, as those which 
you contemplate, I fear there can no salutary emulation subsist. 

Again, in the other alternative, could you submit to the ordinary 
reproofs and discipline of a day-school ? Could you bear to be 
corrected for your faults ? Or how would it look to see you put 
to stand, as must be the case sometimes, in a corner .'' 

I am afraid the idea of a public school in your circumstances 
must be given up. 

But is it impossible, my dear Sir, to find some person of your 
own age — if of the other sex, the more agreeable perhaps — whose 
information, like your own, has rather lagged behind their years, 
who should be willing to set out from the same point with yourself, 
to undergo the same tasks — thus at once inciting and sweetening 
each other's labours in a sort of friendly rivalry. Such a one, I 
think, it would not be difficult to find in some of the western parts 
of this island — about Dartmoor for instance. 

Or what if, from your own estate — that estate which, unex- 
pectedly acquired so late in life, has inspired into you this generous 
thirst after knowledge, you were to select some elderly peasant, 
that might best be spared from the land ; to come and begin his 
education with you, that you might till, as it were, your minds 
together — one, whose heavier progress might invite, without a fear 
of discouraging, your emulation .? We might then see — starting 
from an equal post — the difference of the clownish and the gentle 
blood. 

A private education then, or such a one as I have been describ- 
ing, being determined on, we must in the next place look out for 
a preceptor : — for it will be some time before either of you, left to 
yourselves, will be able to assist the other to any great purpose in 
his studies. 

And now, my dear Sir, if in describing such a tutor as I have 
imagined for you, I use a style a little above the familiar one in 
which I have hitherto chosen to address you, the nature of the 
subject must be my apology. Difficile est de scientiis inscienter 
loqui, which is as much as to say that " in treating of scientific 
matters it is difficult to avoid the use of scientific terms." But 
I shall endeavour to be as plain as possible. I am not going to 
present you with the ideal of a pedagogue, as it may exist in my 
fancy, or has possibly been realized in the persons of Buchanan and 
Busby. Something less than perfection will serve our turn. The 



LETTER TO AN OLD GENTLEMAN 217 

scheme which I propose in this first or introductory letter has 
reference to the first four or five years of your education only; 
and in enumerating the qualifications of him that should under- 
take the direction of your studies, I shall rather point out the 
minimum, or least, that I shall require of him, than trouble you 
in the search of attainments neither common nor necessary to our 
immediate purpose. 

He should be a man of deep and extensive knowledge. So much 
at least is indispensable. Something older than yourself, I could 
wish him, because years add reverence. 

To his age and great learning, he should be blest with a temper 
and a patience, willing to accommodate itself to the imperfections 
of the slowest and meanest capacities. Such a one in former days 
Mr. Hartlib appears to have been, and such in our days I take Mr. 
Grierson to be ; but our friend, you know, unhappily has other engage- 
ments. I do not demand a consummate grammarian ; but he must 
be a thorough master of vernacular orthography, with an insight into 
the accentualities and punctualities of modern Saxon, or English. 
He must be competently instructed (or how shall he instruct you ?) 
in the tetralogy, or first four rules, upon which not only arithmetic, 
but geometry, and the pure mathematics themselves, are grounded. 
I do not require that he should have measured the globe with 
Cook, or Ortelius, but it is desirable that he should have a general 
knowledge (I do not mean a very nice or pedantic one) of the great 
division of the earth into four parts, so as to teach you readily to 
name the quarters. He must have a genius capable in some degree 
of soaring to the upper element, to deduce from thence the not 
much dissimilar computation of the cardinal points, or hinges, upon 
which those invisible phenomena, which naturalists agree to term 
winds, do perpetually shift and turn. He must instruct you, in 
imitation of the old Orphic fragments (the mention of which has 
possibly escaped you), in numeric and harmonious responses, to 
deliver the number of solar revolutions, within which each of the 
twelve periods, into which the Annus Vulgaris, or common year, 
is divided, doth usually complete and terminate itself. The 
intercalaries, and other subtle problems, he will do well to omit, 
till riper years, and course of study^ shall have rendered you more 
capable thereof. He must be capable of embracing all history, so 
as from the countless myriads of individual men, who have peopled 
this globe of earth— r/or it is a globe — by comparison of their 
respective births, lives, deaths, fortunes, conduct, prowess, &c. to 
pronounce, and teach you to pronounce, dogmatically and catecheti- 
cally, who was the richest, who was the strongest, who was the 
wisest, who was the meekest man, that ever lived ; to the facilita- 
tion of which solution, you will readily conceive, a smattering of 



218 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

biography would in no inconsiderable degree conduce. Leavings 
the dialects of men (in one of which I shall take leave to suppose- 
you by this time at least superficially instituted), you will learn 
to ascend with him to the contemplation of that unarticulated 
language, which was before the written tongue ; and, with the aids 
of the elder Phrygian or ^Esopic key, to interpret the sounds by 
which the animal tribes communicate their minds — evolving moral 
instruction with delight from the dialogue of cocks, dogs, and foxes. 
Or marrying theology with verse, from whose mixture a beautiful 
and healthy offspring may be expected, in your own native accents 
(but purified) you will keep time together to the profound harpings 
of the more modern or Wattsian hymnics. 

Thus far I have ventured to conduct you to a "hill-side, whence 
you may discern the right path of a virtuous and noble education ; 
laborious indeed at the first ascent, but else so smooth, so green, 
so full of goodly prospects and melodious sounds on every side, that 
the harp of Orpheus was not more charming." ^ 

With my best respects to Mr. Grierson, when you see him, 
I remain, dear Sir, your obedient servant, 

Elia.. 

April I, 1823. 



RITSON VERSUS JOHN SCOTT THE QUAKER 

(1823) 

Critics I read on other men, 

And Hypers upon them again. — Prior. 

I HAVE in my possession Scott's " Critical Essays on some of 
the Poems of several English Poets," — a handsome octavo, 
bought at the sale of Ritson's books ; and enriched (or deformed, as 
some would think it) with MS. annotations in the handwriting of 
that redoubted Censor. I shall transcribe a few, which seem most 
characteristic of both the writers — Scott, feeble, but amiable — 
Ritson, coarse, caustic, clever ; and, I am to suppose, not amiable. 
But they have proved some amusement to me ; and, I hope, will 
produce some to the reader, this rainy season, which really damps a 
gentleman's wings for any original flight, and obliges him to ransack 

' Milton's Tractate on Education, addressed to Mr. Hartlib. 



RITSON V. JOHN SCOTT THE QUAKER 219 

his shelves, and miscellaneous reading, to furnish an occasional or 
make-shift paper. If the sky clears up, and the sun dances this 
Easter (as they say he is wont to do), the town may be troubled 
with something more in his own way the ensuing month from its 
poor servant to command. Elia. 

DYER'S RUINS OF ROME 
-The pilgrim oft 



At dead of night 'mid his oraison hears 
Aghast the voice of time disparting towers, 
Tumbling all precipitate down-dash'd, 
Rattling around, loud-thund'ring to the moon ; 
While murmurs sooth each awful interval 
Of ever-falling waters. 

Scott 

There is a very bold transposition in this passage. A superficial 
reader, not attending to the sense of the epithet ever, might be 
ready to suppose that the intervals intended were those between 
the falling of the waters, instead of those between the falling 
of the towers. 

Ritson 

A beauty, as in Thomson's Winter — 

Cheerless towns, far distant, never blest. 

Save when its annual course the caravan 
Bends to the golden coast of rich Cathay, 
With news of human kind.' 

A superficial person — Mr. Scott, for instance, would be apt to 
connect the last clause in this period with the line foregoing — 
" bends to the coast of Cathay with news," &c. But has a reader 
nothing to do but to sit passive, while the connexion is to glide 
into his ears like oil ? 

DENHAM'S COOPER'S HILL 

The stream is so transparent, pure, and clear. 
That, had the self-enamour'd youth gaz'd here, 
So fatally deceived he had not been. 
While he the bottom, not his face had seen. 

Scott 

The last two lines have more music than Denham's can possibly 
boast. 

1 May I have leave to notice an instance of the same agreeable discontinuity in 
my fciend Lloyd's admirable poem on Christmas ? 

Where the broad-bosom'd hills, 

Swept with perpetual clouds, of Scotland rise. 
Me fate compels to tarry. 



220 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

Ritson 

May I have leave to conjecture, that in the very last line of all, 
the word " the " has erroneously crept in ? I am persuaded that the 
poet wrote "his." To my mind, at least, this reading, in a sur- 
prising degree, heightens the idea of the extreme clearness and 
transparency of the stream, where a man might see more than his 
face (as it were) in it. 

COLLINS'S ORIENTAL ECLOGUES 

Scott 

The second of these little pieces, called Hassan, or the Camel 
Driver, is of superior character. This poem contradicts history in 
one principal instance ; the merchants of the east travel in numerous 
caravans, but Hassan is introduced travelling alone in the desart. 
But this circumstance detracts little from our author's merit ; ad- 
herence to historical fact is seldom required in poetry. 

Ritson 

It is always, where the poet unnecessarily transports you to the 
ends of the world. If he must plague you with exotic scenery, you 
have a right to exact strict local imagery and costume. Why must 
I learn Arabic, to read nothing after all but Gay's Fables in another 
language ? 

Scott 

Abra is introduced in a grove, wreathing a flowery chaplet for her 
hair. Shakspeare himself could not have devised a more natural 
and pleasing incident, than that of the monarch's attention being 
attracted by her song : 

Great Abbas chanced that fated morn to stray, 
By love conducted from the chace away. 
Among the vocal vales he heard her song 



Ch— t? 



Ritson 



O stay thee, Agib, for my feet deny. 
No longer friendly to my life, to fly 

Scott 



From the pen of Cowley, such an observation as Secander's, 
" that his feet were no longer friendly to his life," might have 
been expected ; but Collins rarely committed such violations of 
simplicity. 



RITSON V. JOHN SCOTT THE QUAKEE 221 

Ritson 

Pen of Cowley ! impudent goose-quill, how darest thou guess 
what Cowley would have written ? 

GRAY'S CHURCH-YARD ELEGY 
Save where the beetle wheels 

Scott 

The beetle was introduced in poetry by Shakspeare * * *. 
Shakspeare has made the most of his description ; indeed, far too 
much, considering the occasion : 

-to black Hecate's summons 



The shard-born beetle with his drowsy hum 
Hath rung night's yawning peal. 

The imagination must be indeed fertile, which could produce 
this ill-placed exuberance of imagery. The poet, when compos- 
ing this passage, must have had in his mind all the remote ideas 
of Hecate, a heathen Goddess, of a beetle, of night, of a peal of 
bells, and of that action of the muscles, commonly called a gape or 
yawn. 

Ritson 

Numbscull ! that would limit an infinite head by the square 
contents of thy own numbscull. 

Scott 

The great merit of a poet is not, like Cowley, Donne, and Den- 
ham, to say what no man but himself has thought, but what every 
man besides himself has thought; but no man expressed, or, at 
least, expressed so well. 

Ritson 

In other words, all that is poetry, which Mr. Scott has thought, 
as well as the poet ; but that cannot be poetry, which was not ob- 
vious to Mr. Scott, as well as to Cowley, Donne, and Denham. 

Scott 

Mr. Mason observes of the language in this part [the Epitaph], 
that it has a Doric delicacy. It has, indeed, what I should rather 
term a happy rusticity. 

Ritson 

Come, see 
Rural felicity. 



222 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

GOLDSMITH'S DESERTED VILLAGE 

No busy steps the grass-grown footway tread, 

But all the bloomy flush of life is fled — 

All but yon widow'd solitary thing, 

That feebly bends beside the plashy spring ; 

She, wretched matron, forced, in age, for bread, 

To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread, 

Scott 

Our author's language, in this place, is very defective in cor- 
rectness. After mentioning the general privation of the " bloomy 
flush of life," the exceptionary " all but " includes, as part of that 
" bloomy flush," an aged decrepit matron ; that is to say, in plain 
prose, " the bloomy flush of life is all fled but one old woman." 

Ritson 
Yet Milton could write : 

Far from all resort of mirth. 
Save the cricket on the hearth, 
Or the bell-man's drowsy charm — 

and I dare say he was right. O never let a quaker, or a woman, 
try their hand at being witty, any more than a Tom Brown affect 
to speak by the spirit ! 

Scott 
-Aaron Hill, who, although, in general, a bombastic writer, 



produced some pieces of merit, particularly the Caveat, an allego- 
rical satire on Pope. 

Ritson 

Say rather his verses on John Dennis, beginning "Adieu, un- 
social excellence ! " which are implicitly a finer satire on Pope 
than twenty Caveats. All that Pope could or did say against 
Dennis, is there condensed ; and what he should have said, and 
did not, for him, is there too.^ 

'On the Death of Me. Dennis 

Adieu, unsocial excellence I at last 

Thy foes are vanquish'd, and thy fears are past : 

Want, the grim recompense of truth like thine, 

Shall now no longer dim thy destined shrine. 

The impatient envy, the disdainful air. 

The front malignant, and the captious stare, 

The furious petulance, the jealous start. 

The mist of frailties that obscured thy heart — 

Veil'd in thy grave shall unremember'd lie ; 

For these were parts of Dennis born to die. 

But there's a nobler deity behind ; 

His reason dies not, and has friends to And : 



lilTSON V. JOHN SCOTT THE QUAKER 223 

THOMSON'S SEASONS 
Address to the Angler to spare the young fish 
If yet too young, and easily deceived, 
A worthless prey scarce bends your pliant rod, 
Him, piteous of his youth, and the short space 
He has enjoy'd the vital light of heaven, 
Soft disengage, and back into the stream 
The speckled infant throw. . 

8coU 

The praise bestowed on a preceding passage, cannot be justly 
given to this. There is in it an attempt at dignity above the 
occasion. Pathos seems to have been intended, but affectation 
only is produced. 

Ritson 

It is not affectation, but it is the mock heroic of pathos, intro- 
•duced purposely and wisely to attract the reader to a proposal, 
which from the unimportance of the subject — a poor little fish — 
might else have escaped his attention — as children learn, or may 
learn, humanity to animals from the mocK romantic "Perambula- 
tions of a Mouse." 

HAYMAKING 

Infant hands 



Trail the long rake ; or, with the fragrant load 
O'er-charged, amid the kind oppression roll. 

Scott 

" Kind oppression " is a phrase of that sort, which one scarcely 
knows whether to blame or praise : it consists of two words, directly 
opposite in their signification ; and yet, perhaps, no phrase what- 
ever could have better conveyed the idea of an easy uninjurious 
weight — 

Ritson 

— and yet he does not know whether to blame or praise it ! 

Though here revenge and pride withheld his praise, 

No wrongs shall reach him through his future days ; 

The rising ages shall redeem his name, 

And nations read him into lasting fame. 

In his defects untaught, his labour'd page 

Shall the slow gratitude of Time engage. 

Perhaps some story of his pitied woe, 

Mix'd in faint shades, may with his memory go, 

To touch fraternity with generous shame. 

And backward cast an unavailing blame 

On times too cold to taste his strength of art. 

Yet warm contemners of too weak a heart. 

Rest in thy dust, contented with thy lot, 

Thy good remember'd, and thy bad forgot. 



224 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

SHEEP-SHEARING 

By many a dog 

Compell'd 

***** 
The clamour much of men, and boys, and dogs 



***** 

Scott 

The mention of dogs twice was superfluous ; it might have been 
easily avoided. 

Ritson 
Very true — by mentioning them only once. 

Scott 

Nature is rich in a variety of minute but striking circumstances ; 
some of which engage the attention of one observer, and some that 
of another. 

Ritson 

This lover of truth never uttered a truer speech. Give me a lie 
with a spirit in it. 



Air, earth, and ocean, smile immense. 

Scott 
The bombastic " immense smile of air, &c.," better omitted. 

Ritson 

Quite Miltonic — " enormous bliss " — and both, I presume, alike 
caviare to the Quaker. 



He comes ! he comes ! in every breeze the power 
Of philosophic melancholy comes ! 
His near approach, the sudden-starting tear, 
The glowing cheek, the mild dejected air, 
The soften'd feature, and the beating heart, 
Pierced deep with many a virtuous pang, declare. 

Scott 

This fine picture is greatly injured by a few words. The power 
should have been said to come " upon the breeze ; " not " in every 
breeze ; " an expression which indicates a multiplicity of approaches. 
If he came " in every breeze," he must have been always coming — 

Ritson 
— and so he was. 



RITSON V. JOHN SCOTT THE QUAKEE |226 



-The branching Oronoque 



Rolls a brown deluge, and the native drives 

To dwell aloft on life-sufficing trees, 

At once his dome, his robe, his food, and arms. 

Sweird by a thousand streams, impetuous hurl'd 

From all the roaring Andes, huge descends 

The mighty Orellana. Scarce the Muse 

Dares stretch her iving o'er this enormous mass 

Of rushing water : scarce she dares attempt 

The sea-like Plata ; to whose dread expanse, 

Continuous depth, and wond'rous length of course, 

Our floods are rills. With unabated force 

In silent dignity they sweep along. 

And traverse realms unknown, and blooming wilds, 

And fruitful desarts, worlds of solitude. 

Where the sun smiles, and seasons teem, in vain, 

Unseen and unenjoy'd. Forsaking these, 

O'er peopled plains they fair-diffusive flow, 

And many a nation feed, and circle safe 

In their fair bosom many a happy isle. 

The seat of blameless Pan, yet undisturb'd 

By Christian crimes, and Europe's cruel sons. 

Thus pouring on, they proudly seek the deep. 

Whose vanquish'd tide, recoiling from the shock, 

Yields to this liquid weight of half the globe. 

And Ocean trembles for his green domain. 

Scott 

Poets not unfrequently aim at aggrandising their subject, by 
avowing their inability to describe it. This is a puerile and in- 
adequate expedient. Thomson has here, perhaps inadvertently,, 
descended to this feeble art of exaggeration. 

Ritson 

A magnificent passage, in spite of Duns Scotus ! The poet says 
not a word about his " inability to describe," nor seems to be think- 
ing about his readers at all. He is confessing his own feelings, 
awe-struck with the contemplation of such o'erwhelming objects ; 
in the same spirit with which he designates the den of the " green 
serpent " in another place — 

— Which ev'n imagination fears to tread 



-A dazzling deluge reigns, and all 



From pole to pole is undistinguish'd blaze. 

Scott 

From pole to pole, strictly speaking, is improper. The poet 
meant, " from one part of the horizon to the other." 
VOL. I. — 15 



226 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

Bitson 

From his pole to thy pole was a more downward declension than 
" from the centre thrice," &c. 

Ohe I jam satis. 



s 



LETTER OF ELIA TO ROBERT SOUTHEY 

(1823) 

IR, — You have done me an unfriendly office, without perhaps 
much considering what you were doing. You have given 
an ill name to my poor Lucubrations. In a recent Paper on 
Infidelity, you usher in a conditional commendation of them 
with an exception ; which, preceding the encomium, and taking up 
nearly the same space with it, must impress your readers with 
the notion, that the objectionable parts in them are at least equal 
in quantity to the pardonable. The censure is in fact the criticism ; 
the praise — a concession merely. Exceptions usually follow, to 
qualify praise or blame. But there stands your reproof, in the 
very front of your notice, in ugly characters, like some bugbear, to 
frighten all good Christians from purchasing. Through you I am 
become an object of suspicion to preceptors of youth, and fathers 
of families. "4 hook, which wants only a sounder religious 
feeling to he as delightful as it is original." With no further 
explanation, what must your readers conjecture, but that my little 
volume is some vehicle for heresy or infidelity ? The quotation, 
which you honour me by subjoining, oddly enough, is of a character, 
which bespeaks a temperament in the writer the very reverse of 
that your reproof goes to insinuate. Had you been taxing me 
with superstition, the passage would have been pertinent to the 
censure. Was it worth your while to go so far out of your way to 
affront the feelings of an old friend, and commit yourself by an 
irrelevant quotation, for the pleasure of reflecting upon a poor 
child, an exile at Genoa ? 

I am at a loss what particular Essay you had in view (if my 
poor ramblings amount to that appellation) when you were in such 
a hurry to thrust in your objection, like bad news, foremost. — 
Perhaps the Paper on " Saying Graces '' was the obnoxious feature. 
I have endeavoured there to rescue a voluntary duty — good in 
place, but never, as I remember, literally commanded — from the 
charge of an undecent formality. Rightly taken, Sir, that Paper 



LETTER OF ELIA TO EOBT. SOUTHEY 227 

was not against Graces, but Want of Grace ; not against the cere- 
mony, but the carelessness and slovenliness so often observed in the 
performance of it. 

Or was it that on the " New Year " — in which I have described 
the feelings of the merely natural man, on a consideration of 
the amazing change, which is supposable to take place on our 
removal from this fleshly scene ? — If men would honestly confess 
their misgivings (which few men will) there are times when the 
strongest Christians of us, I believe, have reeled under questionings 
of such staggering obscurity. I do not accuse you of this weakness. 
There are some who tremblingly reach out shaking hands to the 
guidance of Faith — ^Others who stoutly venture into the dark (their 
Human Confidence their leader, whom they mistake for Faith) ; 
and, investing themselves beforehand with Cherubic wings, as they 
fancy, find their new robes as familiar, and fitting to their supposed 
growth and stature in godliness, as the coat they left ofi" yesterday 
— Some whose hope totters upon crutches — ^Others who stalk into 
futurity upon stilts. 

The contemplation of a Spiritual World,— which, without the 
addition of a misgiving conscience, is enough to shake some natures 
to their foundation — ^is smoothly got over by others, who shall float 
over the black billows, in their little boat of No-Distrust, as un- 
concernedly as over a summer sea. The difference is chiefly con- 
stitutional. 

One man shall love his friends and his friends' faces ; and, under 
the uncertainty of conversing with them again, in the same manner 
and familiar circumstances of sight, speech, &c., as upon earth — in 
a moment of no irreverent weakness — for a dream-while — no more 
— would be almost content, for a reward of a life of virtue (if he 
could ascribe such acceptance to his lame performances), to take up 
his portion with those he loved, and was made to love, in this good 
world, which he knows — which was created so lovely, beyond his 
deservings. Another, embracing a more exalted vision — so that he 
might receive indefinite additaments of power, knowledge, beauty, 
glory, &c. — is ready to forego the recognition of humbler individu- 
alities of earth, and the old familiar faces. The shapings of our 
Jieavens are the modifications of our constitution ; and Mr. Feeble 
Mind, or Mr. Great Heart, is born in every one of us. 

Some (and such have been accounted the safest divines) have 
shrunk from pronouncing upon the final state of any man ; nor dare 
they pronounce the case of Judas to be desperate. Others (with 
stronger optics), as plainly as with the eye of flesh, shall behold a 
given king in bliss, and a given chamberlain in torment ; even to 
the eternising of a cast of the eye in the latter, his own self-mocked 
and good-humouredly-borne deformity on earth, but supposed to 



228 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

aggravate the uncouth and hideous expression of his pangs in the 
other place. That one man can presume so far, and that another 
would with shuddering disclaim such confidences, is, I believe, an 
efFect of the nerves purely. 

If in either of these Papers, or elsewhere, I have been betrayed 
into some levities — not affronting the sanctuary, but glancing per- 
haps at some of the out-skirts and extreme edges, the debateable 
land between the holy and the profane regions — (for the admixture 
of man's inventions, twisting themselves with the name of religion 
itself, has artfully made it difficult to touch even the alloy, without, 
in some men's estimation, soiling the fine gold) — if I have sported 
within the purlieus of serious matter — it was, I dare say, a humour 
— be not startled. Sir — which I have unwittingly derived from 
yourself You have all your life been making a jest of the Devil. 
Not of the scriptural meaning of that dark essence — personal or 
allegorical ; for the nature is no where plainly delivered. I acquit 
you of intentional irreverence. But indeed you have made wonder- 
fully free with, and been mighty pleasant upon, the popular idea 
and attributes of him. A noble Lord, your brother Visionary, has 
scarcely taken greater liberties with the material keys, and merely 
Catholic notion of St. Peter. — You have flattered him in prose : you 
have chanted him in goodly odes. You have been his Jester; 
Volunteer Laureat, and self-elected Court Poet to Beelzebub. 

You have never ridiculed, I believe, what you thought to be 
religion, but you are always girding at what some pious, but per- 
haps mistaken folks, think to be so. For this reason I am sorry to 
hear, that you are engaged upon a life of George Fox. I know you 
will fall into the error of intermixing some comic stufF with your 
seriousness. The Quakers tremble at the subject in your hands. 
The Methodists are shy of you, upon account of their founder. 
But, above all, our Popish brethren are most in your debt. The 
errors of that church have proved a fruitful source to your scoffing 
vein. Their Legend has been a Golden one to you. And here, your 
friends. Sir, have noticed a notable inconsistency. To the imposing 
rites, the solemn penances, devout austerities of that communion ; 
the affecting though erring piety of their hermits ; the silence and 
solitude of the Chartreux — their crossings, their holy waters — their 
Virgin, and their saints — to these, they say, you have been indebted 
for the best feelings, and the richest imagery, of your Epic poetry. 
You have drawn copious drafts upon Loretto. We thought at one 
time you were going post to Rome — but that in the facetious 
commentaries, which it is your custom to append so plentifully, and 
(some say) injudiciously, to your loftiest performances in this kind, 
you spurn the uplifted toe, which you but just now seemed to 
court ; leave his holiness in the lurch ; and show him a fair pair of 



LETTEE OF ELIA TO EOBT. SOUTHEY 229 

Protestant heels under your Romish vestment. When we think 
you already at the wicket, suddenly a violent cross wind blows you 
transverse — 

ten thousand leagues awry. 

Then might we see 
Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers, tost 
And flutter'd into rags ; then reliques, beads, 
Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls, 
The sport of winds. 

You pick up pence by showing the hallowed bones, shrine, and 
crucifix ; and you take money a second time by exposing the trick 
of them afterwards. You carry your verse to Castle Angelo for sale 
in a morning ; and, swifter than a pedlar can transmute his pack, 
you are at Canterbury with your prose ware before night. 

Sir, is it that I dislike you in this merry vein .? The very 
reverse. No countenance becomes an intelligent jest better than 
your own. It is your grave aspect, when you look awful upon 
your poor friends, which I would deprecate. 

In more than one place, if I mistake not, you have been 
pleased to compliment me at the expence of my companions. I 
cannot accept your compliment at such a price. The upbraid- 
ing a man's poverty naturally makes him look about him, to 
see whether he be so poor indeed as he is presumed to be. You 
have put me upon counting my riches. Really, Sir, I did not know 

I was so wealthy in the article of friendships. There is , and 

, whom you never heard of, but exemplary characters both, 

and excellent church-goers ; and N., mine and my father's friend 
for nearly half a century ; and the enthusiast for Wordsworth's 
poetry, T. N. T., a little tainted with Socinianism, it is to be feared, 

but constant in his attachments, and a capital critic ; and , a 

sturdy old Athanasian, so that sets all to rights again ; and W., 
the light, and warm-as-light hearted, Janus of the London ; and 
the translator of Dante, still a curate, modest and amiable C. ; 

and Allan C, the large-hearted Scot ; and P r, candid and 

affectionate as his own poetry ; and A p, Coleridge's friend ; 

and G n, his more than fi-iend ; and Coleridge himself, the 

same to me still, as in those old evenings, when we used to sit 
and speculate (do you remember them. Sir ?) at our old Salutation 
tavern, upon Pantisocracy and golden days to come on earth ; and 

W th (why, Sir, I might drop my rent-roll here ; such goodly 

farms and manors have I reckoned up already. In what possessions 
has not this last name alone estated me ! — but I will go on) — and 

M., the noble-minded kinsman, by wedlock, of W th ; and 

H. C. R., unwearied in the offices of a friend ; and Clarkson, al- 
most above the narrowness of that relation, yet condescending not 



230 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

seldom heretofore from the labours of his world-embracing charity 
to bless my humble roof; and the gall-less and single-minded Dyer; 
and the high-minded associate of Cook, the veteran Colonel, with 
his lusty heart still sending cartels of defiance to old Time ; and, 
not least, W. A., the last and steadiest left to me of that little 
knot of whist-players, that used to assemble weekly, for so many 
years, at the Queen's Gate (you remember them, Sir ?) and called 
Admiral Burney friend. 

I will come to the point at once. I believe you will not make 
many exceptions to my associates so far. But I have purposely 
omitted some intimacies, which I do not yet repent of having 
contracted, with two gentlemen, diametrically opposed to yourself 
in principles. You will understand me to allude to the authors of 
Rimini and of the Table Talk. And first, of the former. 

It is an error more particularly incident to persons of the 
correctest principles and habits, to seclude themselves from the 
rest of mankind, as from another species ; and form into knots and 
clubs. The best people, herding thus exclusively, are in danger of 
contracting a narrowness. Heat and cold, dryness and moisture, 
in the natural world, do not fly asunder, to split the globe into 
sectarian parts and separations ; but mingling, as they best may, 
correct the malignity of any single predominance. The analogy 
holds, I suppose, in the moral world. If all the good people were to 
ship themselves off to Terra Incognitas, what, in humanity's name, is 
to become of the refuse ? If the persons, whom I have chiefly in view, 
have not pushed matters to this extremity yet, they carry them as 
far as they can go. Instead of mixing with the infidel and the 
freethinker — in the room of opening a negociation, to try at least 
to find out at which gate the error entered — they huddle close 
together, in a weak fear of infection, like that pusillanimous 
underling in Spenser — 

This is the wandering wood, this Error's den ; 
A monster vile, whom God and man does hate : 
Therefore, I reed, beware. Fly, fly, quoth then 
The fearful Dwarf, 

and, if they be writers in orthodox journals — addressing themselves 
only to the irritable passions of the unbeliever — they proceed in a 
safe system of strengthening the strong hands, and confirming the 
valiant knees ; of converting the already converted, and proselyting 
their own party. I am the more convinced of this from a passage 
in the very Treatise which occasioned this letter. It is where, 
having recommended to the doubter the writings of Michaelis and 
Lardner, you ride triumphant over the necks of all infidels, 
sceptics, and dissenters, from this time to the world's end, upon the 
wheels of two unanswerable deductions. I do not hold it meet to 



LETTEE OF ELIA TO ROBT. SOUTHEY 231 

set down, in a Miscellaneous Compilation like this, such religious 
words as you have thought fit to introduce into the pages of a 
petulant Literary Joimial. I therefore beg leave to substitute 
numerals, and refer to the Quarterly Review (for July) for filling 
of them up. " Here," say you, " as in the history of 7, if these 
books are authentic, the events which they relate must be true ; 
if they were written by 8„9 is 10 and 11." Your first deduction, 
if it means honestly, rests upon two identical propositions ; though 
I suspect an unfairness in one of the terms, which this would not 
be quite the proper place for explicating. At all events you have 
no cause to triumph ; you have not been proving the premises, but 
refer for satisfaction therein to very long and laborious works, 
which may well employ the sceptic a twelvemonth or two to digest, 
before he can possibly be ripe for your conclusion. When he has 
satisfied himself about the premises, he will concede to you the 
inference, I dare say, most readily.— But your latter deduction, 
viz. that because 8 has written a book concerning 9, therefore 
10 and 11 was certainly his meaning, is one of the most extra- 
ordinary conclusions per saltwrn that I have had the good fortune 
to meet with. As far as 10 is verbally eisserted in the writings, all 
sects must agree with you ; but you cannot be ignorant of the 
many various ways in which the doctrine of the ********* 
has been understood, from a low figurative expression (with the 
Unitarians) up to the most mysterious actuality ; in which highest 
sense alone you and your church take it. And for 11, that there 
is no other possible conclusion — to hazard this in the face of so 
many thousands of Arians and Socinians, &c., who have drawn so 
opposite a one, is such a piece of theological hardihood, as, I think, 
warrants me in concluding that, when you sit down to pen theology, 
you do not at all consider your opponents ; but have in your eye, 
merely and exclusively, readers of the same way of thinking with 
yourself, and therefore have no occasion to trouble yourself with the 
quality of the logic, to which you treat them. 

Neither can I think, if you had had the welfare of the poor child 
— over whose hopeless condition you whine so lamentably and (I 
must think) unseasonably — seriously at heart, that you could have 
taken the step of sticking him up by name — T. H. is as good as 
naming him — to perpetuate an outrage upon the parental feelings, 
as long as the Quarterly Review shall last. — Was it necessary to 
specify an individual case, and give to Christian compassion the 
appearance of personal attack ? Is this the way to conciliate 
unbelievers, or not rather to widen the breach irreparably ? 

I own I could never think so considerably of myself as to decline 
the society of an agreeable or worthy man upon difference of 
opinion only. The impediments and the facilitations to a sound 



232 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

belief are various and inscrutable as the heart of man. Some 
believe upon weak principles. Others cannot feel the efficacy of the 
strongest. One of the most candid, most upright, and single- 
meaning men, I ever knew, was the late Thomas Holcroft. I believe 
he never said one thing and meant another, in his life; and, as 
near as I can guess, he never acted otherwise than with the most 
scrupulous attention to conscience. Ought we to wish the character 
false, for the sake of a hollow compliment to Christianity .'' 

Accident introduced me to the acquaintance of Mr. L. H. — and 
the experience of his many friendly qualities confirmed a friendship 
between us. You, who have been misrepresented yourself, I should 
hope, have not lent an idle ear to the calumnies which have been 
spread abroad respecting this gentleman. I was admitted to his 
household for some years, and do most solemnly aver that I believe 
him to be in his domestic relations as correct as any man. He 
chose an ill-judged subject for a poem ; the peccant humours of 
which have been visited on him tenfold by the artful use, which his 
adversaries have made, of an equivocal term. The subject itself 
was started by Dante, but better because brieflier treated of. But 
the crime of the Lovers, in the Italian and the English poet, with 
its aggravated enormity of circumstance, is not of a kind (as the 
critics of the latter well knew) with those conjunctions, for which 
Nature herself has provided no excuse, because no temptation. — It 
has nothing in common with the black horrors, sung by Ford and 
Massinger. The familiarising of it in tale or fable may be 
for that reason incidentally more contagious. In spite of Rimini, 
I must look upon its author as a man of taste, and a poet. He is 
better than so, he is one of the most cordial-minded men I ever 
knew, and matchless as a fire-side companion. I mean not to affront 
or wound your feelings when I say thab, in his more genial moods, 
he has often reminded me of you. There is the same air of mild 
dogmatism — the same condescending to a boyish sportiveness — in 
both your conversations. His hand-writing is so much the same 
with your own, that I have opened more than one letter of his, 
hoping, nay, not doubting, but it was from you, and have been 
disappointed (he will bear with my saying so) at the discovery of 
my error. L. H. is unfortunate in holding some loose and not very 
definite speculations (for at times I think he hardly knows whither 
his premises would carry him) on marriage — the tenets, I conceive, 
of the Political Justice, carried a little further. For any thing I 
could discover in his practice, they have reference, like those, to 
some future possible condition of society, and not to the present 
times. But neither for these obliquities of thinking (upon which 
my own conclusions are as distant as the poles asunder) — nor for 
his political asperities and petulancies, which are wearing out with 



LETTER OF ELIA TO ROBT. SOUTHEY 233 

the heats and vanities of youth — did I select him for a friend ; but 
for qualities which fitted him for that relation. I do not know 
whether I flatter myself with being the occasion, but certain it is, 
that, touched with some misgivings for sundry harsh things which 
he had written aforetime against our friend C, — before he left this 
country he sought a reconciliation with that gentleman (himself 
being his own introducer), and found it. 

L. H. is now in Italy ; on his departure to which land with much 
regret I took my leave of him and of his little family — seven of them, 
Sir, with their mother — and as kind a set of little people (T. H. and 
all), as affectionate children, as ever blessed a parent. Had you 
seen them, Sir, I think you could not have looked upon them as so 
many little Jonases — but rather as pledges of the vessel's safety, 
that was to bear such a freight of love. 

I wish you would read Mr. H.'s lines to that same T. H., " six 
years old, during a sickness : " 

Sleep breaks [breathes] at last from out thee, 
My httle patient boy — 

(they are to be found on the 47th page of "Foliage") — and ask 
yourself how far they are out of the spirit of Christianity. I have 
a letter from Italy, received but the other day, into which L. H. 
has put as much heart, and as many friendly yearnings after old 
associates, and native country, as, I think, paper can well hold. It 
would do you no hurt to give that the perusal also. 

From the other gentleman I neither expect nor desire (as he is 
well assured) any such concessions as L. H. made to C. What hath 
soured him, and made him to suspect his friends of infidelity 
towards him, when there was no such matter, I know not. I stood 
well with him for fifteen years (the proudest of my life), and have 
ever spoke my full mind of him to some, to whom his panegyric 
must naturally be least tasteful. I never in thought swerved from 
him, I never betrayed him, I never slackened in my admiration of 
him, I was the same to him (neither better nor worse) though he 
could not see it, as in the days when he thought fit to trust me. 
At this instant, he may be preparing for me some compliment, 
above my deserts, as he has sprinkled many such among his admir- 
able books, for which I rest his debtor ; or, for any thing I know, 
or can guess to the contrary, he may be about to read a lecture on 
my weaknesses. He is welcome to them (as he was to my humble 
hearth), if they can divert a spleen, or ventilate a fit of sullenness. 
I wish he would not quarrel with the world at the rate he does ; 
but the reconciliation must be effected by himself, and I despair of 
living to see that day. But, protesting against much that he has 
written, and some things which he chooses to do; judging him by 



to 



234 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

his conversation which I enj oyed so long, and relished so deeply ; 
or by his books, in those places where no clouding passion inter- 
venes — I should belie my own conscience, if I said less, than that 
I think W. H. to be, in his natural and healthy state, one of the 
wisest and finest spirits breathing. So far from being ashamed of 
that intimacy, which was betwixt us, it is my boast that I was able 
for so many years to have preserved it entire ; and I think I shall 
go to my grave without finding, or expecting to find, such another 
companion. But I forget my manners — you will pardon me. Sir — 
I return to the correspondence. 

Sir, you were pleased (you know where) to invite me to a com- 
pliance with the wholesome forms and doctrines of the Church of 
England. I take your advice with as much kindness, as it was 
meant. But I must thinji the invitation rather more kind than 
seasonable. I am a Dissenter. The last sect, with which you can 
remember me to have made common profession, were the Unitarians. 
You would think it not very pertinent, if (fearing that all was not 
well with you), I were gravely to invite you (for a remedy) to attend 
with me a course of Mr. Belsham's Lectures at Hackney. Perhaps 
I have scruples to some of your forms and doctrines. But if I 
come, am I secure of civil treatment ? — The last time I was in any 
of your places of worship was on Easter Sunday last. I had the 
satisfaction of listening to a very sensible sermon of an argumenta- 
tive turn, delivered with great propriety, by one of your bishops. 
The place was Westminster Abbey. As such religion, as I have, has 
always acted on me more by way of sentiment than argumentative 
process, I was not unwilling, after sermon ended, by no mibecoming 
transition, to pass over to some serious feelings, impossible to be 
disconnected from the sight of those old tombs, &c. But, by whose 
order I know not, I was debarred that privilege even for so short 
a space as a few minutes ; and turned, like a dog or some profane 
person, out into the common street ; with feelings, which I could 
not help, but not very genial to the day or the discourse. I do 
not know that I shall ever venture ijiyself again into one of your 
Churches. 

You had your education at Westminster ; and doubtless among 
those dim aisles and cloisters, you must have gathered much of that 
devotional feeling in those young years, on which your purest mind 
feeds still — and may it feed ! The antiquarian spirit, strong in you, 
and gracefully blending ever with the religious, may have been sown 
in you among those wrecks of splendid mortality. You owe it to 
the place of your education ; you owe it to your learned fondness 
for the architecture of your ancestors ; you owe it to the venerable- 
ness of your ecclesiastical establishment, which is daily lessened and 
called in question through these practices — to speak aloud your 



LETTEE OF ELIA TO EOBT. SOUTHEY 235 

sense of them ; never to desist [from] raising your voice against them, 
till they be totally done away with and abolished ; till the doors of 
Westminster Abbey be no longer closed against the decent, though 
low-in-purse, enthusiast, or blameless devotee, who must commit an 
injury against his family economy, if he would be indulged with a 
bare admission within its walls. You owe it to the decencies, 
which you wish to see maintained in its impressive services, that 
our Cathedral be no longer an object of inspection to the poor at 
those times only, in which they must rob from their attendance on 
the worship every minute which they can bestow upon the fabrick. 
In vain the public prints have taken up this subject, in vain such 
poor nameless writers as myself express their indignation. A word 
from you, Sir — a hint in your Journal — ^would be sufficient to fling 
open the doors of the Beautiful Temple again, as we can remember 
them when we were boys. At that time of life, what would the 
imaginative faculty (such as it is) in both of us, have suffered, if 
the entrance to so much reflection had been obstructed by the 
demand of so much silver ! — If we had scraped it up to gain an 
occasional admission (as we certainly should have done) would the 
sight of those old tombs have been as impressive to us (while we 
had been weighing anxiously prudence against sentiment) as when 
the gates stood open, as those of the adjacent Park ; when we 
could walk in at any time, as the mood brought us, for a shorter 
or longer time, as that lasted .'' Is the being shown over a place 
the same as silently for ourselves detecting the genius of it ? In 
no part of our beloved Abbey now can a person find entrance (out 
of service time) under the sum of two shillings. The rich and the 
great will smile at the anticlimax, presumed to lie in these two short 
words. But you can tell them. Sir, how much quiet worth, how 
much capacity for enlarged feeling, how much taste and genius, 
may coexist, especially in youth, with a purse incompetent to this 
demand. — A respected friend of ours, during his late visit to the 
metropolis, presented himself for admission to Saint Paul's. At 
the same time a decently clothed man, with as decent a wife, and 
child, were bargaining for the same indulgence. The price was 
only two-pence each person. The poor but decent man hesitated, 
desirous to go in ; but there were three of them, and he turned 
away reluctantly. Perhaps he wished to have seen the tomb of 
Nelson. Perhaps the Interior of the Cathedral was his object. But 
in the state of his finances, even sixpence might reasonably seem 
too much. Tell the Aristocracy of the country (no man can do it 
more impressively) ; instruct them of what value these insignificant 
pieces of money, these minims to their sight, may be to their 
humbler brethren. Shame these Sellers out of the Temple. Show 
the poor, that you can sometimes think of them in some; other light 



236 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

than as mutineers and mal-contents. Conciliate them by such kind 
methods to their superiors, civil and ecclesiastical. Stop the 
mouths of the railers ; and suffer your old friends, upon the old 
terms, again to honour and admire you. Stifle not the suggestions 
of your better nature with the stale evasion, that an indiscriminate 
admission would expose the Tombs to violation. Remember your 
boy-days. Did you ever see, or hear, of a mob in the Abbey, 
while it was free to all ? Did the rabble come there, or trouble 
their heads about such speculations ? It is all that you can do to 
drive them into your churches ; they do not voluntarily offer them- 
selves. They have, alas ! no passion for antiquities ; for tomb of 
king or prelate, sage or poet. If they had, they would be no 
longer the rabble. 

For forty years that I have known the Fabrick, the only well- 
attested charge of violation adduced, has been — -a ridiculous dis- 
memberment committed upon the effigy of that amiable spy Major 
Andre. And is it for this — the wanton mischief of some school-boy, 
fired perhaps with raw notions of Transatlantic Freedom — or the 
remote possibility of such a mischief occurring again, so easily to 
be prevented by stationing a constable within the walls, if the 
vergers are incompetent to the duty — is it upon such wretched 
pretences, that the people of England are made to pay a new 
Peter's Pence, so long abrogated ; or must content themselves 
with contemplating the ragged Exterior of their Cathedral ? The 
mischief was done about the time that you were a scholar there. 
Do you know any thing about the unfortunate relic ? — can you help 
us in this emergency to find the nose ? — or can you give Chantry 
a notion (from memory) of its pristine life and vigour ? I am 
willing for peace' sake to subscribe my guinea towards a restoration 
of the lamented feature. 

I am. Sir, 

Your humble servant, 

Elia. 



GUY FAUX 

(1811 and 1823) 

AVERY ingenious and subtle writer, whom there is good reason 
for suspecting to be an Ex-Jesuit, not unknown at Douay 
some five-and-twenty years since (he will not obtrude himself at 



GUY FAUX 237 

M th again in a hurry), about a twelvemonth back, set himself 

to prove the character of the Powder Plot conspirators to have been 
that of heroic self-devotedness and true Christian martyrdom. 
Under the mask of Protestant candour, he actually gained admission 
for his treatise into a London weekly paper, not particularly dis- 
tinguished for its zeal towards either religion. But, admitting 
Catholic principles, his arguments are shrewd and incontrovertible. 
He says — 

Guy Faux was a fanatic, but he was no hypocrite. He ranks among good haters. 
He was cruel, bloody-minded, reckless of all considerations but those of an infuriated 
and bigoted faith ; but he was a true son of the Catholic Church, a martyr and a 
confessor, for all that. He who can prevail upon himself to devote his life for a 
cause, however we may condemn his opinions or abhor his actions, vouches at least 
for the honesty of his principles and the disinterestedness of his motives. He may 
be guilty of the worst practices, but he is capable of the greatest. He is no longer 
a slave, but free. The contempt of death is the beginning of virtue. The hero of 
the Gunpowder-Plot was, if you will, a fool, a madman, an assassin ; call him what 
names you please : still he was neither knave nor coward. He did not propose to 
blow up the Parliament and come off, scot-free, himself ; he showed that he valued 
his own life no more than theirs in such a cause — where the integrity of the Catholic 
faith and the salvation of perhaps millions of souls was at stake. He did not call it 
a murder, but a sacrifice which he was about to achieve : he was armed with the 
Holy Spirit and with fire: he was the Church's chosen servant and her blessed 
martyr. He comforted himself as " the best of cut-throats." How many wretches 
are there who would have undertaken to do what he intended for a sum of money, 
if they could have got off with impunity ! How few are there who would have put 
themselves in Guy Faux's situation to save the universe I Yet in the latter case we 
affect to be thrown into greater consternation than at the most unredeemed acts of 
villany, as if the absolute disinterestedness of the motive doubled the horror of the 
deed I The cowardice and selfishness of mankind are in fact shocked at the con- 
sequences to themselves (if such examples are held up for imitation,) and they make 
a fearful outcry against the violation of every principle of morality, lest they too 
should be called on for any such tremendous sacrifices — lest they in their turn should 
have to go on the forlorn hope of extra-official duty. Charity begins at home, is a 
maxim that prevails as well in the courts of conscience as in those of prudence. We 
would be thought to shudder at the consequences of crime to others, while we 
tremble for them to ourselves. We talk of the dark and cowardly assassin ; and this 
is well, when an individual shrinks from the face of an enemy, and purchases his 
own safety by striking a blow in the dark : but how the charge of cowardly can be 
applied to the public assassin, who, in the very act of destroying another, lays down 
his life as the pledge and forfeit of his sincerity and boldness, I am at a loss to 
devise. There may be barbarous prejudice, rooted hatred, unprincipled treachery, in 
such an act ; but he who resolves to take all the danger and odium upon himself, 
can no more be branded with cowardice, than Regulus devoting himself for his 
country, or Codrus leaping into the fiery gulf. A wily Father Inquisitor, coolly and 
with plenary authority condemning hundreds of helpless, unoffending victims, to the 
flames or to the horrors of a living tomb, while he himself would not suffer a hair of 
his head to be hurt, is to me a character without any qualifying trait in it. Again ; 
the Spanish conqueror and hero, the favourite of his monarch, who enticed thirty 
thousand poor Mexicans into a large open building, under promise of strict faith and 
cordial good-will, and then set fire to it, making sport of the cries and agonies of these 
deluded creatures, is an instance of uniting the most hardened cruelty with the most 
heartless selfishness. His plea was keeping no faith with heretics : this was Guy 
Faux's too ; but I am sure at least that the latter kept faith with himself: he was in 
earnest in his professions. His was not gay, wanton, unfeeling depravity ; he did 
not murder in sport ; it was serious work that he had taken in hand. To see this 



238 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

arch-bigot, this heart-whole traitor, this pale miner in the infernal regions, skulking 
in his retreat with his cloak and dark lanthorn, moving cautiously about among his 
barrels of gunpowder loaded with death, but not yet ripe for destruction, regardless 
of the lives of others, and more than indifferent to his own, presents a picture of the 
strange infatuation of the human understanding, but not 6f the depravity of the 
human will, without an equal. There were thousands of pious Papists privy to and 
ready to applaud the deed when done : — there was no one but our old fifth-of-No- 
vember friend, who still flutters in rags and straw on the occasion, that had the 
courage to attempt it. In him stern duty and unshaken faith prevailed over natural 
frailty. 

It is impossible, upon Catholic principles, not to admit the force 
of this reasoning ; we can only not help smiling (with the writer) 
at the simplicity of the gulled editor, swallowing the dregs of 
Loyola for the very quintessence of sublimated reason in England 
at the commencement of the nineteenth century. We will just, as 
a contrast, show what we Protestants (who are a party concerned) 
thought upon the same subject, at a period rather nearer to the 
heroic project in question. 

The Gunpowder Treason was the subject which called forth the 
earliest specimen which is left us of the pulpit eloquence of Jeremy 
Taylor. When he preached the Sermon on that anniversary, which 
is printed at the end of the folio edition of his Sermons, he was a 
young man just commencing his ministry, under the auspices of 
Archbishop Laud. From the learning, and maturest oratory, which 
it manifests, one should rather have conjectured it to have pro- 
ceeded from the same person after he was ripened by time into a 
Bishop and Father of the Church. — " And, really, these Romano- 
barbari could never pretend to any precedent for an act so 
barbarous as theirs. Adramelech, indeed, killed a king, but he 
spared the people ; Haman would have killed the people, but 
spared the king ; but that both king and people, princes and judges, 
branch and rush and root, should die at once (as if Caligula's wish 
were actuated, and all England upon one head), was never known 
till now, that all the malice of the world met in this as in a centre. 
The Sicilian even-song, the matins of St. Bartholomew, known for 
the pitiless and damned massacres, were but KdnvH aKLa<; ovap, the 
dream of the shadow of smoke, if compared with this great fire. 
In tarn occupato scBCulo fabulas vulgares nequitia non invenit. 
This was a busy age; Herostratus must have invented a more 
sublimed malice than the burning of one temple, or not have been 
so much as spoke of since the discovery of the powder treason. 
But I must make more haste, I shall not else climb the sublimity 
of this impiety. Nero was sometimes the populare odium, was 
popularly bated, and deserved it too, for he slew his master, and 
his wife, and all his family, once or twice over, — opened his 
mother's womb, — fired the city, laughed at it, slandered the 
Christians for it ; but yet all these were but principia malorum, 



GUY FAUX 239 

the very first rudiments of evil. Add, then, to these, Herod's 
master-piece at Ramah, as it was deciphered by the tears and sad 
threnes of the matrons in an universal mourning for the loss of their 
pretty infants ; yet this of Herod will prove but an infant wicked- 
ness, and that of Nero the evil but of one city. I would willingly 
have found out an example, but see I cannot ; should I put into 
the scale the extract of all the old tyrants famous in antique 
stories, — 

Bistonii stabulum regis, Busiridis aras, 
Antiphatae mensas, et Taurica regna Thoantis ; — 

should I take for true story the highest cruelty as it was fancied 
by the most hieroglyphical Egyptian, this alone would weigh them 
down, as if the Alps were put in a scale against the dust of a 
balance. For had this accursed treason prospered, we should have 
had the whole kingdom mourn for the inestimable loss of its chiefest 
glory, its life, its present joy, and all its very hopes for the future. 
For such was their destined malice, that they would not only have 
inflicted so cruel a blow, but have made it incurable, by cutting oif 
our supplies of joy, the whole succession of the Line Royal. Not 
only the vine itself, but all the gemrriulce, and the tender olive 
branches, should either have been bent to their intentions, and 
made to grow crooked, or else been broken. 

" And now, after such a sublimity of malice, I will not instance 
in the sacrilegious ruin of the neighbouring temples, which needs 
must have perished in the flame, — nor in the disturbing the ashes 
of our intombed kings, devouring their dead ruins like sepulchral 
dogs, — these are but minutes, in respect of the ruin prepared for 
the living temples : — 

Stragem sed istam non tulit 

Christus cadentum Principum 

Impune, ne forsan sui 

Patris periret fabrica. 
Ergo quae poterit lingua retexere 
Laudes, Christe, tuas, qui domitum struis 
Infidum populum cum Duce perfido ! " 

In such strains of eloquent indignation did Jeremy Taylor's 
young oratory inveigh against that stupendous attempt, which he 
truly says had no parallel in ancient or modern times. A century 
and a half of European crimes has elapsed since he made the asser- 
tion, and his position remains in its strength. He wrote near the 
time in which the nefarious project had like to have been completed. 
Men's minds still were shuddering from the recentness of the 
escape. It must have been within his memory, or have been 
sounded in his ears so young by his parents, that he would seem, 
in his maturer years, to have remembered it. No wonder then 



240 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

that he describes it in words that burn. But to us, to whom the 
tradition has come slowly down, and has had time to cool, the 
story of Guide Vaux sounds rather like a tale, a fable, and an 
invention, than true history. It supposes such gigantic audacity 
of daring, combined with such more than infantile stupidity in the 
motive, — such a combination of the fiend and the monkey, — that 
credulity is almost swallowed up in contemplating the singularity 
of the attempt. It has accordingly, in some degree, shared the fate 
of fiction. It is familiarized to us in a kind of serio-ludicrous way, 
like the story of Ouy of Warwick, or Valentine and Orson. 
The way which we take to perpetuate the memory of this deliver- 
ance is well adapted to keep up this fabular notion. Boys go 
about the streets annually with a beggarly scarecrow dressed up, 
which is to be burnt, indeed, at night, with holy zeal ; but, mean- 
time, they beg a penny for poor Guy : this periodical petition, 
which we have heard from our infancy, — combined with the dress 
and appearance of the effigy, so well calculated to move compas- 
sion, — has the effect of quite removing from our fancy the horrid 
circumstances of the story which is thus commemorated ; and in 
poor Guy vainly should we try to recognize any of the features of 
that tremendous madman in iniquity, Guido.Vaux, with his horrid 
crew of accomplices, that sought to emulate earthquakes and burst- 
ing volcanoes in their more than mortal mischief. 

Indeed, the whole ceremony of burning Guy Faux, or the Pope, 
as he is indifferently called, is a sort of Treason Travestie, and ad- 
mirably adapted to lower our feelings upon this memorable subject. 
The printers of the little duodecimo Prayer Book, printed by T. 
Baskett,^ in 17419, which has the effigy of his sacred Majesty George 
II. piously prefixed, have illustrated the service (a very fine one in 
itself) which is appointed for the Anniversary of this Day, with a 
print, which it is not very easy to describe, but the contents appear 
to be these : — The scene is a room, I conjecture, in the king's palace. 
Two persons, — one of whom I take to be James himself, from his 
wearing his hat while the other stands bareheaded, — are intently 
surveying a sort of speculum, or magic mirror, which stands upon 
a pedestal in the midst of the room, in which a little figure of Guy 
Faux with his dark lantern approaching the door of the Parliament 
House is made discernible by the light proceeding from a great eye 
which shines in from the topmost comer of the apartment, by which 
eye the pious artist no doubt meant to designate Providence. On 

> The same, I presume, upon whom the clergyman in the song of the Vicar and 
Moses, not without judgment, passes this memorable censure — 
Here, Moses, the King : — 
'Tis a scandalous thing 
That this Baskett should print for the Crown. 



GUY FAUX 241 

the other side of the mirror, is a figure doing something, which 
puzzled me when a child, and continues to puzzle me now. The 
best I can make of it is, that it is a conspirator busy laying the 
train, — but then, why is he represented in the king's chamber ? — 
Conjecture upon so fantastical a design is vain, and I only notice 
the print as being one of the earliest graphic representations which 
woke my childhood into wonder, and doubtless combined with the 
mummery before-mentioned, to take off the edge of that horror 
which the naked historical mention of Guido's conspiracy could not 
have failed of exciting. 

Now that so many years are past since that abominable machina- 
tion was happily frustrated, it will not, I hope, be considered a 
profane sporting with the subject, if we take no very serious survey 
of the consequences that would have flowed from this plot if it had 
had a successful issue. The first thing that strikes us, in a selfish 
point of view, is the material change which it must have produced 
in the course of the nobility. All the ancient peerage being ex- 
tinguished, as it was intended, at one blow, the Red-Book must 
have been closed for ever, or a new race of peers must have been 
created to supply the deficiency ; as the first part of this dilemma 
is a deal too shocking to think of, what a fund of mouth-watering- 
reflections does this give rise to in the breast of us plebeians of a.d. 

1823. Why you or I, reader, might have been Duke of or 

Earl of : 1 particularize no titles, to avoid the least suspicion 

of intention to usurp the dignities of the two noblemen whom I 
have in my eye : — but a feeling more dignified than envy sometimes 
excites a sigh, when I think how the posterity of Guido's Legion of 
Honour (among whom you or 1 might have been) might have 
rolled down " dulcified," as Burke expresses it, " by an exposure to 
the influence of heaven in a long flow of generations, from the hard, 
acidulous, metallic tincture of the spring." ^ What new orders of 
merit, think you, this English Napoleon would have chosen ? 
Knights of the Barrel, or Lords of the Tub, Grand Almoners 
of the Cellar, or Ministers of Explosion. We should have given 
the Train couchant, and the Fire rampant in our arms; we 
should have quartered the dozen white matches in our coats; — 
the Shallows would have been nothing to us. 

Turning away from these mortifying reflections, let us contem- 
plate its effects upon the other house, for they were all to have 
gone together, — King, Lords, Commons. ' 

To assist our imagination, let us take leave to suppose, — and we 
do it in the harmless wantonness of fancy, — to suppose that the 
tremendous explosion had taken place in our days ; — we better 

1 Letter to a Noble Lord. 
VOL. I. — 16 



242 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

know what a House of Commons is in our days, and can better 
estimate our loss ; — let us imagine, then, to ourselves, the United 
Members sitting in full conclave above — Faux just ready with his 
train and matches below ; in his hand a " reed tipt with fire " — he 
applies the fatal engine 

To assist our notions still further, let us suppose some lucky dog 
of a reporter, who had escaped by miracle upon some plank of St. 
Stephen's benches, and came plump upon the roof of the adjacent 
Abbey, from whence descending, at some neighbouring coffee-house, 
first wiping his clothes and calling for a glass of lemonade, he sits 
down and reports what he had heard and seen (quorum pars magna 
fuit) for the Morning Post or the Courier,— we can scarcely 
imagine him describing the event in any other words but some 
such as these : — 

" A Motion was put and carried. That this House do ad- 
journ : That the Speaker do quit the Chair. The House rose 
amid clamours for Order." 

In some such way the event might most technically have been 
conveyed to the public. But a poetical mind, not content with 
this dry method of narration, cannot help pursuing the effects of 
this tremendous blowing up, this adjournment in the air sine die. 
It sees the benches mount, — the Chair first, and then the benches, 
and first the Treasury Bench, hurried up in this nitrous explosion ; 
the Members, as it were, pairing oflF; Whigs and Tories taking 
their friendly apotheosis together, (as they did their sandwiches 
below in Bellamy's room). Fancy, in her flight, keeps pace with 
the aspiring legislators, she sees the awful seat of order mount- 
ing till it becomes finally fixed a constellation, next to Cassiopeia's 
chair, — the wig of him that sat in it taking its place near Berenice's 
curls. St. Peter, at Heaven's wicket, — no, not St. Peter, — St. 
Stephen, with open arms, receives his own. 

While Fancy beholds these celestial appropriations, Reason, no 
less pleased, discerns the mighty benefit which so complete a 
renovation must produce below. Let the most determined foe to 
corruption, the most thorough-paced redresser of abuses, try to 
conceive a more absolute purification of the House than this was 
calculated to produce ; — why, Pride's Purge was nothing to it ; — 
the whole borough-mongering system would have been got rid of, 
fairly exploded ; — with it, the senseless distinctions of party must 
have disappeared ; faction must have vanished ; corruption have ex- 
pired in air. From Hundred, Tything, and Wapentake, some 
new Alfred would have convened, in all its purity, the primitive 
Wittenagemot, — fixed upon a basis of property or population, per- 
manent as the poles 

From this dream of universal restitution. Reason and Fancy with 



NUG^ CRITICS 243 

difficulty awake to view the real state of things. But, blessed be 
Heaven, St. Stephen's walls are yet standing, all her seats firmly 
secured ; nay, some have doubted (since the Septennial Act) 
whether gunpowder itself, or any thing short of a Gominittee 
above stairs, would be able to shake any one member from his 
seat; — that great and final improvement to the Abbey, which is 
all that seems wanting, — the removing Westminster-hall and its 
appendages, and letting in the view of the Thames, — must not be 
expected in our days. Dismissing, therefore, all such speculations 
as mere tales of a tub, it is the duty of every honest Englishman 
to endeavour, by means less wholesale than Guide's, to ameliorate, 
without extinguishing. Parliaments ; to hold the lantern to the 
dark places of corruption ; to apply the match to the rotten parts 
of the system only ; and to wrap himself up, not in the muffling 
mantle of conspiracy, but in the warm, honest cloak of integrity 
and patriotic intention. 

Elia. 



NUGiE CRITICiE 

On a Passage in " The Tempest " 
(1823) 

AS long as I can remember the play of the Tempest, one passage 
in it has always set me upon wondering. It has puzzled me 
beyond measure. In vain I strove to find the meaning of it. I 
seemed doomed to cherish infinite hopeless curiosity. 

It is where Prospero, relating the banishment of Sycorax from 
Argier, adds — 

— For one thing that she did 
They would not take her life — 

how have I pondered over this, when a boy ! how have I longed for 
some authentic memoir of the witch to clear up the obscurity ! — 
Was the story extant in the Chronicles of Algiers ? Could I get at 
it by some fortunate introduction to the Algerine ambassador.? 
Was a voyage thither practicable ? The Spectator (I knew) went 
to Grand Cairo, only to measure a pyramid. Was not the object 
of my quest of at least as much importance ? — The blue-eyed hag — 
could she have done any thing good or meritorious ? might that 
Succubus relent ? then might there be hope for the devil. I have 



244 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

often admired since, that none of the commentators have boggled 
at this passage — how they could swallow this camel — such a tan- 
talising piece of obscurity, such an abortion of an anecdote. 

At length I think I have lighted upon a clue, which may lead to 
show what was passing in the mind of Shakspeare when he dropped 
this imperfect rumour. In the " accurate description of Africa, by 
John Ogilby (Folio), 1670," page 230, I find written, as follows. 
The marginal title to the narrative is — 

Charles the Fifth besieges Algier 

In the last place, we will briefly give an Account of the Emperour Charles the 
Fifth, when he besieg'd this City ; and of the great Loss he suffer'd therein. 

This Prince in the Year One thousand five hundred forty one, having Embarqued 
upon the Sea an Army of Twenty two thousand Men aboard Eighteen Gallies, and 
an hundred tall Ships, not counting the Barques and Shallops, and other small Boats, 
in which he had engaged the principal of the Spanish and Italian Nobility, with a 
good number of the Knights of Maltha ; he was to Land on the Coast oi Barbary, 
at a Cape call'd Matifou. From this place unto the City of Algier a flat Shore or 
Strand extends it self for about four Leagues, the which is exceeding favourable to 
Gallies. There he put ashore with his Army, and in a few days caused a Fortress 
to be built, which unto this day is call'd The Castle of the Emperor. 

In the mean time the City of Algier took the Alarm, having in it at that time but 
Eight hundred Turks, and Six thousand Moors, poor-spirited men, and unexercised 
in Martial affairs ; besides it was at that time Fortifi'd onely with Walls, and had no 
Out-works : Insomuch that by reason of its weakness, and the great Forces of the 
Emperour, it could not in appearance escape taking. In fine, it was Attaqued 
with such Order, that the Army came up to the very Gates, where the Chevalier de 
Sauignac, a Frenchman by Nation, made himself remarkable above all the rest, by 
the miracles of his Valour. For having repulsed the Turks, who having made a 
Sally at the Gate call'd Babason, and there desiring to enter along with them, when 
he saw that they shut the Gate upon him, he ran his Ponyard into the same, and left 
it sticking deep therein. They next fell to Battering the City by the Force of 
Cannon ; which the Assailants so weakened, that in that great extremity the De- 
fendants lost their Courage, and resolved to surrender. 

But as they were thus intending, there was a Witch of the Town, whom the 
History doth not name, which went to seek out Assam Aga, that Commanded within, 
and pray'd him to make it good yet nine Days longer, with assurance, that within 
that time he should infallibly see Algier delivered from that Siege, and the whole 
Army of the Enemy dispersed, so that Christians should be as cheap as Birds. In a 
word, the thing did happen in the manner as foretold ; for upon the Twenty first day 
of October in the same Year, there fell a continual Rain upon the Land, and so furious 
a Storm at Sea, that one might have seen Ships hoisted into the Clouds, and in one 
instant again precipitated into the bottom of the Water : insomuch that that same 
dreadful 'Tempest was followed with the loss of fifteen Gallies, and above an hundred 
other Vessels ; which was the cause why the Emperour, seeing his Army wasted by 
the bad Weather, pursued by a Famine, occasioned by wrack of his Ships, in which 
was the greatest part of his Victuals and Ammunition, he was constrain'd to raise the 
Siege, and set Sail for Sicily, whither he Retreated with the miserable Reliques of 
his Fleet. 

In the mean time that Witch being acknowledged the Deliverer of Algier, was 
richly remunerated, and the Credit of her Charms authorized. So that ever since 
Witchcraft hath been very freely tolerated ; of which the Chief of the Town, and even 
those who are esteem'd to be of greatest Sanctity among them, such as are the 
Marabou's, a Religious Order of their Sect, do for the most part make Profession of 
it, under a goodly Pretext of certain Revelations which they say they have had 
from their Prophet Mahomet. 



ORIGINAL LETTEE OF JAS. THOMSON 245 

And hereupon those of Algier, to paUiate the shame and the reproaches that are 
thrown upon tliem for making use of a Witch in the danger of this Siege, do say, that 
the loss of the Forces of Charles V., was caused by a Prayer of one of their Mara- 
bou's, named Cidy Utica, which was at that time in great Credit, not under the notion 
of a Magitian, but for a person of a holy life. Afterwards in remembrance of their 
success, they have erected unto him a small mosque without the Babason Gate, where 
he is buried, and in which they keep sundry Lamps burning in honour of him : nay 
they sometimes repair thither to make their Sala, for a testimony of greater Venera- 
tion. 

Can it be doubted for a moment, that the dramatist had come 
fresh from reading some older narrative of this deliverance of 
Algier by a witch, and transfeiTed the merit of the deed to his 
Sycorax, exchanging only the " rich remuneration,'" which did not 
suit his purpose, to the simple pardon of her life ? Ogilby wrote in 
1670; but the authorities to which he refers for his Account of 
Barbary are — Johannes de Leo, or Africanus — Louis Marmol — 
Diego de Haedo — Johannes Gramaye — Braeves — Cel. Curio — and 
Diego de Torres — names totally unknown to me — and to which I beg 
leave to refer the curious reader for his fuller satisfaction. 

L. 



ORIGINAL LETTER OF JAMES THOMSON 

(1824) 

THE following very interesting letter has been recovered from 
oblivion, or at least from neglect, by our friend Elia, and the 
public will no doubt thank him for the deed. It is without date or 
superscription in the manuscript, which (as our contributor declares) 
was in so " fragmentitious " a state as to perplex his transcribing 
faculties in the extreme. The poet's love of nature is quite evident 
from one part of it ; and the " poetical posture of his affairs " from 
another. Whether regarded as elucidating the former or the latter, 
it is a document not a little calculated to excite the attention of the 
curious as well as the critical. We could ourselves write an essay- 
full of conjectures from the grounds it affords both with respect to 
the author's poems and his pride. But we must take another 
opportunity, or leave it to his next biographer. 

Deae Sir, 

I would chide you for the slackness of your correspond- 
ence ; but having blamed you wrongeously ^ last time, I shall say 
nothing till I hear from you, which I hope will be soon. 

^Sic in MS. 



246 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

There's a little business I would communicate to you before I 
come to the more entertaining part of our correspondence. 

I'm going (hard task) to complain, and beg your assistance. 
When I came up here I brought very little money along with 
me ; expecting some more upon the selling of Widehope, which was 
to have been sold that day my mother was buried. Now it is un- 
sold yet, but will be disposed of as soon as can be conveniently 
done ; though indeed it is perplexed with some difficulties. I was 
a long time living here at my own charges, and you know how ex- 
pensive that is ; this, together with the furnishing of myself with 
clothes, linen, one thing and another, to fit me for any business of 
this nature here, necessarily obliged me to contract some debts. 
Being a stranger, it is a wonder how I got any credit ; but I cannot 
expect it will be long sustained, unless I immediately clear it. Even 
now, I believe it is at a crisis — my friends have no money to send me, 
till the land is sold ; and my creditors will not wait till then. You 
know what the consequence would be. Now the assistance I 
would beg of you, and which I know, if in your power, you will 
not refuse me, is a letter of credit on some merchant, banker, or 
such like person in London, for the matter of twelve pounds ; till 
I get money upon the selling of the land, which I am at last certain 
of, if you could either give it me yourself, or procure it : though 
you owe it not to my merit, yet you owe it to your own nature, 
which I know so well as to say no more upon the subject: only 
allow me to add, that when I first fell upon such a project, (the 
only thing I have for it in my present circumstances,) knowing the 
selfish inhumane temper of the generality of the world, you were 
the first person that offered to my thoughts, as one to whom I had 
the confidence to make such an address. 



Now I imagine you are seized with a fine romantic kind of melan- 
choly on the fading of the year — now I figure you wandering, 
philosophical and pensive, amidst brown withered groves ; whilst 
the leaves rustle under your feet, the sun gives a farewell parting 
gleam, and the birds — 

Stir the faint note, and but attempt to sing. 

Then again, when the heavens wear a more gloomy aspect, the winds 
whistle and the waters spout, I see you in the well-known cleugh, 
beneath the solemn arch of tall, thick, embowering trees, listening 
to the amusing lull of the many steep, moss-grown cascades ; while 
deep, divine contemplation, the genius of the place, prompts each 
swelling, awful thought. I am sure you would not resign your 
place in that scene at an easy rate : — None ever enjoyed it to the 



ORIGINAL LETTEE OF JAS. THOMSON 247 

height you do, and you are worthy of it. There I walk in spirit, 
and disport in its beloved gloom. This country I am in is not 
very entertaining; no variety but that of woods, and them we 
have in abundance. But where is the living stream ? the airy 
mountain ? or the hanging rock ? with twenty other things that 
elegantly please the lover of Nature. Nature delights me in every 
form. I am just now painting her in her most luxurious dress ; for 
my own amusement, describing winter as it presents itself. After 
my first proposal of the subject — 

I sing of winter, and his gelid reign ; 

Nor let a ryming insect of the spring 

Deem it a barren theme, to me 'tis full 

Of manly charms : to me, who court the shade, 

Whom the gay seasons suit not, and who shun 

The glare of summer. Welcome, kindred glooms ! 

Drear awful wintry horrors, welcome all ! &c. 

After this introduction, I say, which insists for a few lines 
further, I prosecute the purport of the following ones : — 

Nor can I, O departing Summer ! choose 
But consecrate one pitying line to you : 
Sing your last temper'd days and sunny balms, 
That cheer the spirits and serene the soul. 

Then terrible floods, and high winds, that usually happen about 
this time of the year, and have already happened here (I wish you 
have not felt them too dreadfully) ; the first produced the enclosed 
lines ; the last are not completed. Mr. Rickleton's poem on 
Winter, which I still have, first put the design into my head — in it 
are some masterly strokes that awakened me — being only a present 
amusement, it is ten to one but I drop it whenever another fancy 
comes across. I believe it had been much more for your entertain- 
ment, if in this letter I had cited other people instead of myself; 
but I must refer that till another time. If you have not seen it 
already, I have just now in my hands an original of Sir Alexander 
Brands (the crazed Scots knight of the woeful countenance), you 
would relish. I believe it might make Mis^ John catch hold of 
his knees, which I take in him to be a degree of mirth, only in- 
ferior, to fall back again with an elastic spring. It is very [here a 
word is waggishly obliterated] printed in the Evening Post: so, 
perhaps you have seen these panegyrics of our declining bard ; one 
on the Princess's birth-day ; the other on his Majesty's, in [oblit- 
erated] cantos, they are written in the spirit of a complicated 
craziness. I was lately in London a night, and in the old play- 
house saw a comedy acted, called Love makes a Man, or the Fop's 

1 Mas ? 



248 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

Fortune, where I beheld Miller and Gibber shine to my infinite 
entertainment. In and about London this month of September, 
near a hundred people have died by accident and suicide. There 
was one blacksmith tired of the hammer, who hung himself, and 
left wri tten behind him this concise epitaph : — 

I, Joe Pope, 
Lived without hope 
And died by a rope. 

Or else some epigrammatic Muse has belied him. 

Mr. Muir has ample fund for politics in the present posture of 
affairs, as you will find by the public news. I should be glad to 
know that great minister's frame just now. Keep it to yourself — 
you may whisper it too in Mis John's ear. Far otherwise is his 
lately mysterious brother, Mr. Tait, employed. Started a super- 
annuated fortune, and just now upon the full scent. It is comical 
enough to see him amongst the rubbish of his controversial divinity 
and politics, furbishing up his antient rusty gallantry. 

Yours, sincerely, J. T. 

Remember me to all friends, Mr. Rickle, Mis John, Br. John, &c. 



BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR OF MR. LISTON 

(1825) 

THE subject of our Memou* is lineally descended from Johan De 
L'Estonne (see Doomesday Book, where he is so written) who 
came in with the Conqueror, and had lands awarded him at Lupton 
Magna, in Kent. His particular merits or services, Fabian, whose 
authority I chiefly follow, has forgotten, or perhaps thought it 
immaterial, to specify. Fuller thinks that he was standard-bearer 
to Hugo De Agmondesham, a powerful Norman Baron, who was 
slain by the hand of Harold himself at the fatal battle of Hastings. 
Be this as it may, we find a family of that name flourishing some 
centuries later in that county. John Delliston, Knight, was high 
sheriff for Kent, according to Fabian, quinto Henrici Sexti ; and 
we trace the lineal branch flourishing downwards — the orthography 
varying, according to the unsettled usage of the times, from DeUes- 
ton to Leston, or Liston, between which it seems to have alternated. 



BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR OF MR. LISTON 249 

till, in the latter end of the reign of James I, it finally settled 
into the determinate and pleasing dissyllabic arrangement which it 
still retains. Aminadab Liston, the eldest male representative of 
the family of that day, was of the strictest order of Puritans. Mr. 
Foss, of Pall Mall, has obligingly communicated to me an un- 
doubted tract of his, which bears the initials only, A. L. and is 
entitled, " the Grinning Glass : or Actor's Mirrour, wherein the 
vituperative Visnomy of vicious Players for the Scene is as vir- 
tuously reflected back upon their mimetic Monstrosities as it has 
viciously (hitherto) vitiated with its vile Vanities her Votarists." 
A strange title, but bearing the impress of those absurdities with 
which the title pages of that pamphlet-spawning age abounded. 
The work bears date 1617. It preceded the Histriomastix by 
fifteen years ; and as it went before it in time, so it comes 
not far short of it in virulence. It is amusing to find an 
ancestor of Liston's thus bespattering the players at the com- 
mencement of the seventeenth century. " Thinketh He (the 
actor), with his costive countenances, to wry a sorrowing soul 
out of her anguish, or by defacing the divine denotement of 
destinate dignity (daignely described in the face humane and 
no other) to reinstamp the Paradice-plotted similitude with a 
novel and naughty approximation (not in the first intention) to 
those abhorred and ugly God-forbidden correspondences, with 
flouting Apes' jeering gibberings, and Babion babbling-like, to 
hoot out of countenance all modest measure, as if our sins were 
not sufficing to stoop our backs without He wresting and crooking 
his members to mistimed mirth (rather malice) in deformed fashion, 
leering when he should learn, prating for praying, goggling his 
eyes (better upturned for grace), whereas in Paradice (if we can go 
thus high for His profession) that devilish Serpent appeareth his 
undoubted Predecessor, first induing a mask like some roguish 
roistering Roscius (I spit at them all) to beguile with Stage shows 
the gaping Woman, whose Sex hath still chiefly upheld these 
Mysteries, and are voiced to be the chief Stage-haunters, where, 
as I am told, the custom is commonly to mumble (between acts) 
apples, not ambiguously derived from that pernicious Pippin (worse 
in effect than the Apples of Discord) whereas sometimes the hissing 
sounds of displeasure, as I hear, do lively reintonate that snake- 
taking-leave, and diabolical goings off", in Paradice." 

The puritanic effervescence of the early Presbyterians appears to 
have abated with time, and the opinions of the more immediate 
ancestors of our subject to have subsided at length into a strain 
of moderate Calvinism. Still a tincture of the old leaven was to 
be expected among the posterity of A. L. 

Our hero was an only son of Habakuk Liston, settled as an Ana- 



250 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

baptist minister upon the patrimonial soil of his ancestors. A 
regular certificate appears, thus entered in the church book at 
Lupton Magna. " Johannes, filius Hahakuh et Rebeccoe Liston, 
Bissentientium, natus quinto Becembri 1780, baptizatus sexto 
Februarii sequentis ; Sponsoribus J. et W. Woollaston, una 
cuTn Maria Merryweather." The singularity of an Anabaptist 
minister conforming to the child rites of the church, would have 
tempted me to doubt the authenticity of this entry, had I not 
been obliged with the actual sight of it, by the favour of Mr. 
Minns, the intelligent and worthy parish clerk of Lupton. Possibly 
some expectation in point of worldly advantages from some of the 
sponsors, might have induced this unseemly deviation, as it must 
have appeared, from the practice and principles of that generally 
rigid sect. The term DissentientiuTn was possibly intended by 
the orthodox clergyman as a slur upon the supposed inconsistency. 
What, or of what nature, the expectations we have hinted at, 
may have been, we have now no means of ascertaining. Of the 
Wollastons no trace is now discoverable in the village. The 
name of Merryweather occurs over the front of a grocer's shop at 
the western extremity of Lupton. 

Of the infant Liston we find no events recorded before his fourth 
year, in which a severe attack of the measles bid fair to have robbed 
the rising generation of a fund of innocent entertainment. He had 
it of the confluent kind, as it is called, and the child's life was for 
a week or two despaired of. His recovery he always attributes 
(under Heaven) to the humane interference of one Doctor Wilhelm 
Richter, a German empiric, who, in this extremity, prescribed a 
copious diet of Saur Kraut, which the child was observed to 
reach at with avidity, when other food repelled him ; and from 
this change of diet his restoration was rapid and complete. We 
have often heard him name the circumstance with gratitude ; and 
it is not altogether surprising, that a relish for this kind of aliment, 
so abhorrent and harsh to common English palates, has accompanied 
him through life. When any of Mr. Listen's intimates invite him 
to supper, he never fails of finding, nearest to his knife and fork, a 
dish of Saur Kraut. 

At the age of nine we find our subject under the tuition of the 
Rev. Mr. Goodenough (his ■ father's health not permitting him 
probably to instruct him himself), by whom he was inducted into 
a competent portion of Latin and Greek, with some mathematics, 
till the death of Mr. Goodenough, in his own seventieth, and 
Master Liston's eleventh year, put a stop for the present to his 
classical progress. 

We have heard our hero with emotions, which do his heart 
honour, describe the awful circumstances attending the decease of 



BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR OF MR. LISTON 251 

this worthy old gentleman. It seems they had been walking out 
together, master and pupil, in a fine sunset, to the distance of 
three quarters of a mile west of Lupton, when a sudden curiosity 
took Mr. Goodenough to look down upon a chasm, where a shaft 
had been lately sunk in a mining speculation (then projecting, but 
abandoned soon after, as not answering the promised success, by 
Sir Ralph Shepperton, Knight, and member for the county). 
The old clergyman leaning over, either with incaution, or sudden 
giddiness (probably a mixture of both), suddenly lost his footing, 
and, to use Mr. Liston's phrase, disappeared ; and was doubtless 
broken into a thousand pieces. The sound of his head, &c. dash- 
ing successively upon the projecting masses of the chasm, had such 
an effect upon the child, that a serious sickness ensued, and even 
for many years after his recovery he was not once seen so much as 
to smile. 

The joint death[s] of both his parents, which happened not many 
months after this disastrous accident, and were probably (one or 
both of them) accelerated by it, threw our youth upon the protection 
of his maternal great aunt, Mrs. Sittingbourn. Of this aunt we 
have never heard him speak but with expressions amounting almost 
to reverence. To the influence of her early counsels and manners, 
he has always attributed the firmness with which, in maturer 
years, thrown upon a way of life, commonly not the best adapted 
to gravity and self-retirement, he has been able to maintain a 
serious character, untinctured with the levities incident to his pro- 
fession. Ann Sittingbourn (we have seen her portrait by Hudson) 
was stately, stiff, tall, with a cast of features strikingly resembling 
the subject of this memoir. Her estate in Kent was spacious and 
well-wooded ; the house, one of those venerable old mansions which 
are so impressive in childhood, and so hardly forgotten in succeed- 
ing years. In the venerable solitudes of Charnwood, among thick 
shades of the oak and beech (this last his favourite tree), the young 
Listen cultivated those contemplative habits which have never 
entirely deserted him in after years. Here he was commonly in 
the summer months to be met with, with a book in his hand — not 
a play-book — meditating. Boyle's Reflections was at one time the 
darling volume, which in its turn was superseded by Young's Night 
Thoughts, which has continued its hold upon him through life. 
He carries it always about him ; and it is no uncommon thing for 
him to be seen, in the refreshing intervals of his occupation, leaning 
against a side scene, in a sort of Herbert of Cherbury posture, 
turning over a pocket edition of his favourite author. 

But the solitudes of Charnwood were not destined always to 
obscure the path of our young hero. The premature death of Mrs. 
Sittingbourn, at the age of 70, occasioned by incautious burning of 



252 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

a, pot of charcoal in her sleeping chamber, left him in his 19th 
year nearly without resources. That the stage at all should have 
presented itself as an eligible scope for his talents, and, in particular, 
that he should have chosen a line so foreign to what appears to 
have been his turn of mind, may require some explanation. 

At Charnwood then we behold him thoughtful, grave, ascetic. 
From his cradle averse to flesh meats, and strong drink ; abstemious 
€ven beyond the genius of the place ; and almost in spite of the 
remonstrances of his great aunt, who, though strict, was not rigid ; 
water was his habitual drink, and his food little beyond the mast, 
and beech nuts, of his favourite groves. It is a medical fact, that 
this kind of diet, however favourable to the contemplative powers 
of the primitive hermits, &c., is but ill adapted to the less robust 
minds and bodies of a later generation. Hypochondria almost 
constantly ensues. It was so in the case of the young Liston. He 
was subject to sights, and had visions. Those arid beech nuts, 
distilled by a complexion naturally adust, mounted into an occiput, 
already prepared to kindle by long seclusion, and the fervour of 
strict Calvinistic notions. In the glooms of Charnwood he was 
assailed by illusions, similar in kind to those which are related of 
the famous Anthony of Padua. Wild antic faces would ever and 
anon protrude themselves upon his sensorium. Whether he shut 
his eyes, or kept them open, the same illusions operated. The 
darker and more profound were his cogitations, the droller and 
more whimsical became the apparitions. They buzzed about him 
thick as flies, flapping at him, flouting him, hooting in his ear, yet 
with such comic appendages, that what at first was his bane, 
became at length his solace ; and he desired no better society than 
that of his merry phantasmata. We shall presently find in what 
way this remarkable phenomenon influenced his future destiny. 

On the death of Mrs. Sittingbourn, we find him received into the 
family of Mr. Willoughby, an eminent Turkey merchant, resident 
in Birchin-lane, London. We lose a little while here the chain of 
his history ; by what inducements this gentleman was determined 
to make him an inmate of his house. Probably he had had some 
personal kindness for Mrs. Sittingbourn formerly ; but however it 
was, the young man was here treated more like a son than a clerk, 
though he was nominally but the latter. Different avocations, the 
change of scene, with that alternation of business and recreation, 
which in its greatest perfection is to be had only in London, appear 
to have weaned him in a short time from the hypochondriacal 
affections which had beset him at Charnwood. In the three years 
which followed his removal to Birchin-lane, we find him making 
more than one voyage to the Levant, as chief factor for Mr. 
Willoughby, at the Porte. We could easily fill our biography with 



BIOGEAPHICAL MEMOIR OF MR. LISTON 253 

the pleasant passages which we have heard him relate as having 
happened to him at Constantinople, such as his having been taken 
up on suspicion of a design of penetrating the seraglio, &c. ; but, 
with the deepest convincement of this gentleman's own veracity, we 
think that some of the stories are of that whimsical, and others of 
that romantic nature, which, however diverting, would be out of 
place in a narrative of this kind, which aims not only at strict truth, 
but at avoiding the very appearance of the contrary. 

We will now bring him over the seas again, and suppose him in 
the counting-house in Birchin-lane, his protector satisfied with the 
returns of his factorage, and all going on so smoothly that we may 
expect to find Mr. Liston at last an opulent merchant upon 'Change, 
as it is called. But see the turns of destiny ! Upon a summer's 
excursion into Norfolk, in the year 1801, the accidental sight of 
pretty Sally Parker, as she was called (then in the Norwich company), 
diverted his inclinations at once from commerce ; and he became, in 
the language of common-place biography, stage-struck. Happy for 
the lovers of mirth was it, that our hero took this turn ; he might 
else have been to this hour that unentertaining character, a plodding 
London merchant. 

We accordingly find him shortly after making his debut, as it is 
called, upon the Norwich boards, in the season of that year, being 
then in the 22d year of his age. Having a natural bent to tragedy, 
he chose the part of Pyrrhus in the Distressed Mother, to Sally 
Parker's Hermione. We find him afterwards as Barnwell, Altamont, 
Chamont, &c. ; but, as if nature had destined him to the sock, an un- 
avoidable infirmity absolutely discapacitated him for tragedy. His 
person at this latter period, of which I have been speaking, was grace- 
ful, and even commanding ; his countenance set to gravity ; he had 
the power of arresting the attention of an audience at first sight 
almost beyond any other tragic actor. But he could not hold it. 
To understand this obstacle we must go back a few years to those 
appalling reveries at Chamwood. Those illusions, which had 
vanished before the dissipation of a less recluse life, and more free 
society, now in his solitary tragic studies, and amid the intense calls 
upon feeling incident to tragic acting, came back upon him with ten- 
fold vividness. In the midst of some most pathetic passage, the 
parting of JafRer with his dying friend, for instance, he would 
suddenly be surprised with a fit of violent horse laughter. While 
the spectators were all sobbing before him with emotion, suddenly 
one of those grotesque faces would peep out upon him, and he could 
not resist the impulse. A timely excuse once or twice served his 
purpose, but no audiences could be expected to bear repeatedly this 
violation of the continuity of feeling. He describes them (the 
illusions) as so many demons haunting him, and paralysing every 



254 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

effect. Even now, I am told, he cannot recite the famous soliloquy 
in Hamlet, even in private, without immoderate bursts of laughter. 
However, what he had not force of reason sufficient to overcome, he 
had good sense enough to turn into emolument, and determined to 
make a commodity of his distemper. He prudently exchanged the 
buskin for the sock, and the illusions instantly ceased ; or, if they 
occurred for a short season, by their very co-operation added a zest 
to his comic vein ; some of his most catching faces being (as he ex- 
presses it) little more than transcripts and copies of those extra- 
ordinary phantasmata. 

We have now drawn out our hero's existence to the period when 
he was about to meet for the first time the sympathies of a London 
audience. The particulars of his success since have been too much 
before our eyes to render a circumstantial detail of them expedient. 
I shall only mention that Mr. Willoughby, his resentments having 
had time to subside, is at present one of the fastest friends of his old 
renegado factor ; and that Mr. Liston's hopes of Miss Parker vanish- 
ing along with his unsuccessful suit to Melpomene, in the autumn of 
1811 he married his present lady, by whom he has been blest with 
one son, Philip ; and two daughters, Ann, and Angustina 
[.'' Augustina]. 



A VISION OF HORNS 

(1825) 

MY thoughts had been engaged last evening in solving the 
problem, why in all times and places the horn has been 
agreed upon as the symbol, or honourable badge, of married men. 
Moses' horn, the horn of Ammon, of Amalthea, and a cornucopia 
of legends besides, came to my recollection, but afforded no 
satisfactory solution, or rather involved the question in deeper 
obscurity. Tired with the fi'uitless chase of inexplicant analogies, 
I fell asleep, and dreamed in this fashion. 

Methought certain scales or films fell fi-om my eyes, which had 
hitherto hindered these little tokens from being visible. I was 
somewhere in the Cornhill (as it might be termed) of some Utopia. 
Busy citizens jostled each other, as they may do in our streets, with 
care (the care of making a penny) written upon their foreheads ; 
and something else, which is rather imagined, than distinctly 
imaged, upon the brows of my own friends and fellow-townsmen. 



A VISION OF HORNS 255 

In my first surprise I supposed myself gotten into some forest — 
Arden, to be sure, or Sherwood ; but the dresses and deportment, 
all civic, forbade me to continue in that delusion. Then a scrip- 
tural thought crossed me (especially as there were nearly as many 
Jews as Christians among them), whether it might not be the chil- 
dren of Israel going up to besiege Jericho. I was undeceived of 
both eiTors by the sight of many faces which were familiar to me. 
I found myself strangely (as it will happen in dreams) at one and 
the same time in an unknown country, with known companions. I 
met old friends, not with new faces, but with their old faces oddly 
adorned in front, with each man a certain corneous excrescence. 
Dick Mitis, the little cheesemonger in St. * * * *'s Passage, was 
the first that saluted me, with his hat off — you know Dick's way 
to a customer— and, I not being aware of him, he thrust a strange 
beam into my left eye, which pained and grieved me exceedingly ; 
but, instead of apology, he only grinned and fleered in my face, as 
much as to say, " it is the custom of the country," and passed on. 

I had scarce time to send a civil message to his lady, whom I 
have always admired as a pattern of a wife, — and do indeed take 
Dick and her to be a model of conjugal agreement and harmony, — 
when I felt an ugly smart in my neck, as if something had gored it 
behind, and turning round, it was my old friend and neighbour, 
Dulcet, the confectioner, who, meaning to be pleasant, had thrust 
his protuberance right into my nape, and seemed proud of his 
power of offending. 

Now I was assailed right and left, till in my own defence I was 
obliged to walk sideling and wary, and look about me, as you guard 
your eyes in London streets ; for the horns thickened, and came at 
me like the ends of umbrellas poking in one's face. 

I soon found that these towns-folk were the civillest best-mannered 
people in the world, and that if they had offended at all, it was en- 
tirely owing to their blindness. They do not know what dangerous 
weapons they protrude in front, and will stick their best friends in 
the eye with provoking complacency. Yet the best of it is, they 
can see the beams on their neighbours' foreheads, if they are as 
small as motes, but their own beams they can in no wise discern. 

There was little Mitis, that I told you I just encountered — he 
has simply (I speak of him at home in his own shop) the smoothest 
forehead in his own conceit — he will stand you a quarter of an 
hour together contemplating the serenity of it in the glass, before 
he begins to shave himself in a morning — yet you saw what a 
desperate gash he gave me. 

Desiring to be better informed of the ways of this extraordinary 
people, I applied myself to a fellow of some assurance, who (it 
appeared) acted as a sort of interpreter to strangers — he was 



256 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

dressed in a military uniform, and strongly resembled Colonel . 

of the guards ; — and " pray, Sir," said I, " have all the inhabitants 
of your city these troublesome excrescences ? I beg pardon, I see 
you have none. You perhaps are single." " Truly, Sir," he replied 
with a smile, " for the most part we have, but not all alike. There 
are some, like Dick, that sport but one tumescence. Their ladies 
have been tolerably faithful — have confined themselves to a single 
aberration or so — these we call Unicorns. Dick, you must know, is 
my Unicom. [He spoke this with an air of invincible assurance.] 
Then we have Bicorns, Tricorns, and so on up to Millecoms. 
[Here methought I crossed and blessed myself in my dream.] 
Some again we have — there goes one — you see how happy the 
rogue looks — how he walks smiling, and perking up his face, as if 
he thought himself the only man. He is not married yet, but on 
Monday next he leads to the altar the accomplished widow Dacres, 
relict of our late sheriff." 

" I see. Sir," said I, " and observe that he is happily free from 
the national goitre (let me call it), which distinguishes most of 
your countrymen." 

" Look a little more narrowly," said my conductor. 

I put on my spectacles, and observing the man a little more 
diligently, above his forehead I could mark a thousand little 
twinkling shadows dancing the horn-pipe, little hornlets and rudi- 
ments of horn, of a soft and pappy consistence (for I handled some 
of them), but which, like coral out of water, my guide informed me 
would infallibly stiffen and grow rigid within a week or two from 
the expiration of his bachelorhood. 

Then I saw some horns strangely growing out behind, and mv 
interpreter explained these to be married men, whose wives had 
conducted themselves with infinite propriety since the period of 
their marriage, but were thought to have antedated their good 
men's titles, by certain liberties they had indulged themselves in, 
prior to the ceremony. This kind of gentry wore their horns 
backwards, as has been said, in the fashion of the old pig-tails ; and 
as there was nothing obtrusive or ostentatious in them, nobody 
took any notice of it. 

Some had pretty little budding antlers, like the first essays of a 
young faun. These, he told me, had wives, whose affairs were in a 
hopeful way, but not quite brought to a conclusion. 

Others had nothing to show, only by certain red angry marks and 
swellings in the foreheads, which itched the more they kept rubbing 
and chafing them ; it was to be hoped that something was brewing. 

I took notice that every one jeered at the rest, only none took 
notice of the sea-captains; yet these were as well provided with 
their tokens as the best among them. This kind of people, it 



A VISION OF HOENS 257 

seems, taking their wives upon so contingent tenures, their lot was 
considered as nothing but natural, — so they wore their marks 
without impeachment, as they might carry their cockades, and 
nobody respected them a whit the less for it. 

I observed, that the more sprouts grew out of a man's head, the 
less weight they seemed to carry with them ; whereas, a single token 
would now and then appear to give the wearer some uneasiness. 
This shows that use is a great thing. 

Some had their adomings gilt, which needs no explanation ; 
while others, like musicians, went sounding theirs before them — a 
sort of music which I thought might very well have been spared. 

It was pleasant to see some of the citizens encounter between 
themselves ; how they smiled in their sleeves at the shock they 
received from their neighbour, and none seemed conscious of the 
shock which their neighbour experienced in return. 

Some had great corneous stumps, seemingly torn off and bleeding. 
These, the interpreter warned me, were husbands who had retaliated 
upon their wives, and the badge was in equity divided between them. 

While I stood discerning these things, a slight tweak on my 
cheek unawares, which brought tears into my eyes, introduced to 
me my friend Placid, between whose lady and a certain male cousin, 
some idle flirtations I remember to have heard talked of ; but that 
was all. He saw he had somehow hurt me, and asked my pardon 
with that round unconscious face of his, and looked so tristful and 
contrite for his no-oiFence, that I was ashamed for the man's 
penitence. Yet I protest it was but a scratch. It was the least 
little hornet of a horn that could be framed. "Shame on the 
man," I secretly exclaimed, " who could thrust so much as the value 
of a hair into a brow so unsuspecting and inoflFensive. What then 
must they have to answer for, who plant great, monstrous, timber- 
like, projecting antlers upon the heads of those whom they call 
their friends, when a puncture of this atomical tenuity made my 
eyes to water at this rate. All the pincers at Surgeons' Hall 
cannot pull out for Placid that little hair." 

I was curious to know what became of these frontal excrescences, 
when the husbands died ; and my guide informed me that the 
chemists in their country made a considerable profit by then^ 
extracting from them certain subtle essences : — and then I re- 
membered, that nothing was so efficacious in my own for restoring 
swooning matrons, and wives troubled with the vapours, as a strong 
snifF or two at the composition, appropriately called hartshorn — far 
beyond sal volatile. 

Then also I began to understand, why a man, who is the jest of 
the company, is said to be the butt — as much as to say, such a one 
butteth with the horn. 
VOL. I. — 17 



258 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

I inquired if by no operation these wens were ever extracted ; 
and was told, that there was indeed an order of dentists, whom 
they call canonists in their language, who undertook to restore the 
forehead to its pristine smoothness ; but that ordinarily it was not 
done without much cost and trouble ; and when they succeeded in 
plucking out the offending part, it left a painful void, which could 
not be filled up ; and that many patients who had submitted to 
the excision, were eager to marry again, to supply with a good 
second antler the baldness and deformed gap left by the extraction 
of the former, as men losing their natural hair substitute for it a 
less becoming periwig. 

Some horns I observed beautifully taper, smooth, and (as it were) 
flowering. These I understand were the portions brought by hand- 
some women to their spouses ; and I pitied the rough, homely, 
unsightly deformities on the brows of others, who had been deceived 
by plain and ordinary partners. Yet the latter I observed to be 
by far the most common — -the solution of which I leave to the 
natural philosopher. 

One tribute of married men I particularly admired at, who, 
instead of horns, wore, engrafted on their forehead, a sort of horn- 
book. "This," quoth my guide, "is the greatest mystery in our 
country, and well worth an explanation. You must know that all 
infidelity is not of the senses. We have as well intellectual, as 
material, wittols. These, whom you see decorated with the Order 
of the Book — are triflers, who encourage about their wives' presence 
the society of your men of genius (their good friends, as they call 
them) — literary disputants, who ten to one out-talk the poor 
husband, and commit upon the understanding of the woman a 
violence and estrangement in the end, little less painful than the 
coarser sort of alienation. Whip me these knaves — [my conductor 
here expressed himself with a becoming warmth] — whip me them, 
I say, who with no excuse from the passions, in cold blood seduce 
the minds, rather than the persons, of their friends' wives ; who, for 
the tickling pleasure of hearing themselves prate, dehonestate the 
intellects of married women, dishonouring the husband in what 

should be his most sensible part. If I must be [here he used 

a plain word] let it be by some honest sinner like myself, and not 
by one of these gad-flies, these debauchers of the understanding, 
these flattery-buzzers." He was going on in this manner, and I 
was getting insensibly pleased with my friend's manner (I had been 
a little shy of him at first), when the dream suddenly left me, 
vanishing — as Virgil speaks — through the gate of Horn. 

Elia. 



THE ILLUSTRIOUS DEFUNCT 259 

THE ILLUSTRIOUS DEFUNCT i 

(1825) 

Nought but a blank remains, a dead void space, 
A step of life that promised such a race. — Dryden. 

NAPOLEON has now sent us back from the grave sufficient 
echoes of his Hving renown : the twilight of posthumous 
fame has lingered long enough over the spot where the sun of his 
glory set, and his name must at length repose in the silence, if not 
in the darkness of night. In this busy and evanescent scene, other 
spirits of the age are rapidly snatched away, claiming our undivided 
sympathies and regrets, until in turn they yield to some newer and 
more absorbing grief. Another name is now added to the list of 
the mighty departed, a name whose influence upon the hopes and 
fears, the fates and fortunes of our countrymen, has rivalled, and 
perhaps eclipsed that of the defunct " child and champion of 
Jacobinism," while it is associated with all the sanctions of legiti- 
mate government, all the sacred authorities of social order and our 
most holy religion. We speak of one, indeed, under whose warrant 
heavy and incessant contributions were imposed upon our fellow- 
citizens, but who exacted nothing without the signet and the 
sign manual of most devout Chancellors of'the Exchequer. Not 
to dally longer with the sympathies of our readers, we think it 
right to premonish them that we are composing an epicedium upon 
no less distinguished a personage than the Lottery, whose last 
breath, after many penultimate puffs, has been sobbed forth by 
sorrowing contractors, as if the world itself were about to be con- 
verted into a blank. There is a fashion of eulogy, as well as of 
vituperation ; and though the Lottery stood for some time in the 
latter predicament, we hesitate not to assert that " TnuLtis ille 
bonis fiebilis occidit." Never have we joined in the senseless 
clamour which condemned the only tax whereto we became volun- 
tary contributors, the only resource which gave the stimulus without 
the danger or infatuation of gambling, the only alembic which in 
these plodding days sublimised our imaginations, and filled them 

^ Since writing this article, we have been informed that the object of our funeral- 
oration is not definitively dead, but only moribund. So much the better ; we 
shall have an opportunity of granting the request made to Walter by one of the 
children in the wood, and "kill him two times." The Abbe de Vertot having a 
siege to write, and not receiving the materials in time, composed the whole from his 
invention : shortly after its completion, the expected documents arrived, when he 
threw them aside, exclaiming — " You are of no use to me now ; I have carried the 
town." 



260 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

with more delicious dreams than ever flitted athwart the sensorium 
of AInaschar. 

Never can the writer forget when, as a child, he was hoisted upon 
a servant's shoulder in Guildhall, and looked down upon the in- 
stalled and solemn pomp of the then drawing Lottery. The two 
awful cabinets of iron, upon whose massy and mysterious portals, 
the royal initials were gorgeously emblazoned, as if after having 
deposited the unfulfilled prophecies within, the King himself had 
turned the lock and still retamed the key in his pocket ; — the blue- 
coat boy, with his naked arm, first converting the invisible wheel, 
and then diving into the dark recess for a ticket ; — the grave and 
reverend faces of the commissioners eyeing the announced number ; 
— the scribes below calmly committing it to their huge books ; — 
the anxious countenances of the surrounding populace, while the 
giant figures of Gog and Magog, like presiding deities, looked down 
with a grim silence upon the whole proceeding, — constituted alto- 
gether a scene, which combined with the sudden wealth supposed to 
be lavished from those inscrutable wheels, was well calculated to 
impress the imagination of a boy with reverence and amazement. 
Jupiter, seated between the two fatal urns of good and evil, the 
blind Goddess with her cornucopia, the Parcse wielding the distaff, 
the thread of life, and the abhorred shears, seemed but dim and 
shadowy abstractions of mythology, when I had gazed upon an 
assemblage exercising, as I dreamt, a not less eventful power, and 
all presented to me in palpable and living operation. Reason and 
experience, ever at their old spiteful work of catching and destroying 
the bubbles which youth delighted to follow, have indeed dissipated 
much of this illusion, but my mind so far retained the influence of 
that early impression, that I have ever since continued to deposit 
my humble offerings at its shrine whenever the ministers of the 
Lottery went forth with type and trumpet to announce its periodical 
dispensations ; and though nothing has been doled out to me from 
its undiscerning coffers but blanks, or those more vexatious tanta- 
lizers of the spirit, denominated small prizes, yet do I hold myself 
largely indebted to this most generous diffuser of universal happi- 
ness. Ingrates that we are ! are we to be thankful for no benefits 
that are not palpable to sense, to recognise no favours that are not 
of marketable value, to acknowledge no wealth unless it can be 
counted with the five fingers ? If we admit the mind to be the sole 
depositary of genuine joy, where is the bosom that has not been 
elevated into a temporary elysium by the magic of the Lottery ? 
Which of us has not converted his ticket, or even his sixteenth 
share of one, into a nest-egg of Hope, upon which he has sate 
brooding in the secret roosting-places of his heart, and hatched it 
into a thousand fantastical apparitions P 



THE ILLUSTRIOUS DEFUNCT 261 

What a startling revelation of the passions if all the aspirations 
engendered by the Lottery could be made manifest ! Many an im- 
pecuniary epicure has gloated over his locked-up warrant for future 
wealth, as a means of realising the dream of his namesake in the 
Alchemist, — 

" My meat shall all come in in Indian shells, 

Dishes of agate set in gold, and studded 

With emeralds, sapphires, hyacinths and rubies ; 

The tongues of carps, dormice, and camels' heels 

Boil'd i' the spirit of Sol, and dissolved in pearl, 

(Apicius' diet 'gainst the epilepsy ;) 

And I will eat these broths with spoons of amber. 

Headed with diamant and carbuncle. 

My footboy shall eat pheasants, calvered salmons. 
Knots, godwits, lampreys ; I myself will have 
The beards of barbels served : — instead of salads 
Oil'd mushrooms, and the swelling unctuous paps 
Of a fat pregnant sow, newly cut off, 
Dress'd with an exquisite and poignant sauce. 
For which I'll say unto my cook — ' There's gold. 
Go forth, and be a knight ! ' " 

Many a doating lover has kissed the scrap of paper whose pro- 
missory shower of gold was to give up to him his otherwise 
unattainable Danae : Nimrods have transformed the same narrow 
symbol into a saddle, by which they have been enabled to bestride 
the backs of peerless hunters ; while nymphs have metamorphosed 
its Protean form into 

" Rings, gaudes, conceits. 
Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats," 

and all the braveries of dress, to say nothing of the obsequious 
husband, the two-footman'd carriage, and the opera-box. By the 
simple charm of this numbered and printed rag, gamesters have, for 
a time at least, recovered their losses, spendthrifts have cleared off 
mortgages from their estates, the imprisoned debtor has leapt over 
his lofty boundary of circumscription and restraint, and revelled in 
all the joys of liberty and fortune ; the cottage-walls have swelled 
out into more goodly proportion than those of Baucis and Philemon; 
poverty has tasted the luxuries of competence, labour has lolled at 
ease in a perpetual arm-chair of idleness, sickness has been bribed 
into banishment, life has been invested with new charms, and death 
deprived of its former terrors. Nor have the affections been less 
gratified than the wants, appetites, and ambitions of mankind. By 
the conjurations of the same potent spell, kindred have lavished 
anticipated benefits upon one another, and charity upon all. Let it 
be termed a delusion ; a fool's paradise is better than the wise man's 
Tartarus : be it branded as an Ignis fatuus, it was at least a benevo- 
lent one, which instead of beguiling its followers into swamps, 



262 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

caverns, and pitfalls, allured them on with all the blandishments of 
enchantment to a garden of Eden, an ever-blooming elysium of 
delight. True, the pleasures it bestowed were evanescent, but which 
of our joys are permanent ? and who so inexperienced as not to know 
that anticipation is always of higher relish than reality, which strikes 
a balance both in our sufferings and enjoyments. " The fear of ill 
exceeds the ill we fear," and fruition, in the same proportion, in- 
variably falls short of hope. " Men are but children of a larger 
growth," who may amuse themselves for a long time in gazing at the 
reflection of the moon in the water, but, if they jump in to grasp it, 
they may grope for ever, and only get the farther from their object. 
He is the wisest who keeps feeding upon the future, and refrains as 
long as possible from undeceiving himself, by converting his pleasant 
speculations into disagreeable certainties. 

The true mental epicure always purchased his ticket early, and 
postponed enquiry into its fate to the last possible moment, during 
the whole of which intervening period he had an imaginary twenty 
thousand locked up in his desk, — and was not this well worth all 
the money ? Who would scruple to give twenty pounds interest for 
even the ideal enjoyment of as many thousands during two or three 
months ? " Crede quod habes, et habes," and the usufruct of such 
a capital is surely not dear at such a price. Some years ago, a 
gentleman in passing along Cheapside saw the figures 1069, of 
which number he was the sole proprietor, flaming on the window of 
a lottery-office as a capital prize. Somewhat flurried by this dis- 
covery, not less welcome than unexpected, he resolved to walk round 
St. Paul's that he might consider in what way to communicate the 
happy tidings to his wife and family ; but upon repassing the shop, 
he observed that the number was altered to 10,069, and upon en- 
quiry, had the mortification to learn that his ticket was a blank, 
and had only been stuck up in the window by a mistake of the clerk. 
This eff^ectually calmed his agitation, but he always speaks of him- 
self as having once possessed twenty thousand pounds, and maintains 
that his ten minutes' walk round St. Paul's was worth ten times the 
purchase-money of the ticket. A prize thus obtained has moreover 
this special advantage ; — it is beyond the reach of fate, it cannot be 
squandered, bankruptcy cannot lay siege to it, friends cannot pull it 
down, nor enemies blow it up ; it bears a charmed life, and none of 
woman born can break its integrity, even by the dissipation of a 
single fraction. Show me the property in these perilous times that 
is equally compact and impregnable. We can no longer become 
enriched for a quarter of an hour ; we can no longer succeed in such 
splendid failures ; all our chances of making such a miss have van- 
ished with the last of the Lotteries. 

Life will now become a flat, prosaic routine of matter-of-fact, 



THE ILLUSTRIOUS DEFUNCT 263 

and sleep itself, erst so prolific of numerical configurations and 
mysterious stimulants to lottery adventure, will be disfurnished of 
its figures and figments. People will cease to harp upon the one 
lucky number suggested in a dream, and which forms the exception, 
while they are scrupulously silent upon the ten thousand falsified 
dreams which constitute the rule. Morpheus will stifle Cocker with 
a handful of poppies, and our pillows will be no longer haunted by 
the book of numbers. 

And who, too, shall maintain the art and mystery of puffing in all 
its pristine glory when the lottery professors shall have abandoned 
its cultivation .'' They were the first, as they will assuredly be the 
last, who fully developed the resources of that ingenious art ; who 
cajoled and decoyed the most suspicious and wary reader into a 
perusal of their advertisements by devices of endless variety and 
cunning : who baited their lurking schemes with midnight murders, 
ghost stories, crim-cons, bon-mots, balloons, dreadful catastrophes, 
and every diversity of joy and sorrow to catch newspaper-gudgeons. 
Ought not such talents to be encouraged ? Verily the abolitionists 
have much to answer for ! 

And now, having established the felicity of all those who gained 
imaginary prizes, let us proceed to show that the equally numerous 
class who were presented with real blanks, have not less reason to 
consider themselves happy. Most of us have cause to be thankful 
for that which is bestowed, but we have all, probably, reason to be 
still more grateful for that which is withheld, and more especially 
for our being denied the sudden possession of riches. In the Litany 
indeed, we call upon the Lord to deliver us " in all time of our 
wealth ; " but how few of us are sincere in deprecating such a 
calamity ! Massinger's Luke, and Ben Jonson's Sir Epicure Mam- 
mon, and Pope's Sir Balaam, and our own daily observation, might 
convince us that the devil " now tempts by making rich, not making 
poor." We may read in the Guardian a circumstantial account of 
a man who was utterly ruined by gaining a capital prize : — we may 
recollect what Dr. Johnson said to Garrick, when the latter was 
making a display of his wealth at Hampton Court, — " Ah, David ! 
David ! these are the things that make a death-bed terrible ; " — we 
may recall the Scripture declaration, as to the difficulty a rich man 
finds in entering into the Kingdom of Heaven, and combining all 
these denunciations against opulence, let us heartily congratulate 
one another upon our lucky escape from the calamity of a twenty or 
thirty thousand pound prize ! The fox in the fable, who accused 
the unattainable grapes of sourness, was more of a philosopher than 
we are generally willing to allow. He was an adept in that species 
of moral alchemy, which turns every thing to gold, and converts 
disappointment itself into a ground of resignation and content. 



264 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

Such we have shown to be the great lesson inculcated by the 
Lottery when rightly contemplated ; and if we might parody M. de 
Chateaubriand's jingling expression, — "le Roi est mort, vive le 
Roi," we should be tempted to exclaim, " The Lottery is no more 
— long live the Lottery ! " 



UNITARIAN PROTESTS 

In a Letter to a Friend of that Persuasion Newly 
Married 

(1825) 

DEAR M , Though none of your acquaintance can with 
greater sincerity congratulate you upon this happy con- 
juncture than myself, one of the oldest of them, it was with pain 
I found you, after the ceremony, depositing in the vestry-room what 
is called a Protest. I thought you superior to this little soph- 
istry. What, after submitting to the service of the Church of 
England — after consenting to receive a boon from her, in the 
person of your amiable consort — was it consistent with sense, or 
common good manners, to turn round upon her, and flatly taunt 
her with false worship ? This language is a little of the strongest 
in your books and from your pulpits, though there it may well 
enough be excused from religious zeal and the native warmth of 
nonconformity. But at the altar — the Church of England altar 
— adopting her forms and complying with her requisitions to the 
letter — to be consistent, together with the practice, I fear, you 
must drop the language of dissent. You are no longer sturdy Non 
Cons ; you are there Occasional Conformists. You submit to accept 
the privileges communicated by a form of words, exceptionable, and 
perhaps j ustly, in your view ; but, so submitting, you have no right 
to quarrel with the ritual which you have just condescended to owe 
an obligation to. They do not force you into their churches. You 
come voluntarily, knowing the terms. You marry in the name of 
the Trinity. There is no evading this by pretending that you take 
the formula with your own interpretation, (and so long as you can 
do this, where is the necessity of Protesting ?) : for the meaning of 
a vow is to be settled by the sense of the imposer, not by any 
forced construction of the taker : else might all vows, and oatli 
too, be eluded with impunity. You marry then essentially as 



UNITAEIAN PEOTESTS 265 

Trinitarians ; and the altar no sooner satisfied than, hey presto, 
with the celerity of a j uggler, you shift habits, and proceed pure 
Unitarians again in the vestry. You cheat the Church out 
of a wife, and go home smiling in your sleeves that you have so 
cunningly despoiled the Egyptians. In plain English, the Church 
has married you in the name of so and so, assuming that you took 
the words in her sense, but you outwitted her ; you assented to 
them in your sense only, and took from her what, upon a right 
understanding, she would have declined to give you. 

This is the fair construction to be put upon all Unitarian mar- 
riages as at present contracted ; and as long as you Unitarians 
could salve your consciences with the equivoque, I do not see why 
the Established Church should have troubled herself at all about 
the matter. But the Protesters necessarily see further. They have 
some glimmerings of the deception ; they apprehend a flaw some- 
where ; they would fain be honest, and yet they must marry not- 
withstanding ; for honesty's sake, they are fain to dehonestate 
themselves a little. Let me try the very words of your own Pro- 
test, to see what confessions we can pick out of them. 

" As Unitarians therefore we (you and your newly espoused 
bride) most solemnly protest against the service (which yourselves 
have just demanded) because we are thereby called upon, not only 
tacitly to acquiesce, but to profess a belief in a doctrine which is a 
dogma, as we believe, totally unfounded." But do you profess that 
belief during the ceremony ; or are you only called upon for the 
profession but do not make it ? If the latter, then you fall in with 
the rest of your more consistent brethren, who waive the Protest ; 
if the former, then, I fear, your Protest cannot save you. 

Hard and grievous it is, that in any case an institution so broad 
and general as the union of man and wife should be so cramped 
and straitened by the hands of an imposing hierarchy, that to 
plight troth to a lovely woman a man must be necessitated to 
compromise his truth and faith to Heaven ; but so it must be, so 
long as you chuse to marry by the forms of the Church over which 
that hierarchy presides. 

Therefore, say you, we Protest. O poor and much fallen word 
Protest ! It was not so that the first heroic reformers protested. 
They departed out of Babylon once for good and all ; they came 
not back for an occasional contact with her altars ; a dallying, and 
then a protesting against dalliance ; they stood not shuffling in the 
porch, with a Popish foot within, and its lame Lutheran fellow 
without, halting betwixt. These were the true Protestants. You 
are — Protesters. 

Besides the inconsistency of this proceeding, I must think it a 
piece of impertinence — unseasonable at least, and out of place, 



266 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

to obtrude these papers upon the officiating clergyman — to ofrer 
to a public functionary an instrument which by the tenor of his 
function he is not obliged to accept, but, rather, he is called upon 
to reject. Is it done in his clerical capacity? he has no power of 
redressing the grievance. It is to take the benefit of his ministry 
and then insult him. If in his capacity of fellow Christian only, 
what are your scruples to him, so long as you yourselves are able to 
get over them, and do get over them by the very fact of coming to 
require his services ? The thing you call a Protest might with just 
as good a reason be presented to the churchwarden for the time 
being, to the parish clerk, or the pew opener. 

The Parliament alone can redress your grievance, if any. Yet 
I see not how with any grace your people can petition for relief, 
so long as, by the very fact of your coming to Church to be 
married, they do bond fide and strictly relieve themselves. The 
Upper House, in particular, is not unused to these same things 
called Protests, among themselves. But how would this honorable 
body stare to find a noble Lord conceding a measure, and in the 
next breath, by a solemn Pi'otest disowning it. A Protest there 
is a reason given for non-compliance, not a subterfuge for an 
equivocal occasional compliance. It was reasonable in the primitive 
Christians to avert from their persons, by whatever lawful means, 
the compulsory eating of meats which had been offered unto idols. 
I dare say the Roman Prefects and Exarchats had plenty of petition- 
ing in their days. But what would a Festus, or Agrippa, have 
replied to a petition to that effect, presented to him by some 
evasive Laodicean, with the very meat between his teeth, which he 
had been chewing voluntarily rather than abide the penalty ? 
Relief for tender consciences means nothing, where the conscience 
has previously relieved itself; that is, has complied with the in- 
junctions which it seeks preposterously to be rid of. Relief for 
conscience there is properly none, but what by better information 
makes an act appear innocent and lawful, with which the previous 
conscience was not satisfied to comply. All else is but relief from 
penalties, from scandal incurred by a complying practice, where 
the conscience itself is not fully satisfied. 

But, say you, we have hard measure; the Quakers ai-e indulged 
with the liberty denied to us. They have [? are] ; and dearly 
they have earned it. You have come in (as a sect at least) 
in the cool of the evening ; at the eleventh hour. The 
Quaker character was hardened in the fires of persecution in 
the seventeenth century ; not quite to the stake and faggot, but 
little short of that ; they grew up and thrived against noisome 
prisons, cruel beatings, whippings, stockings. They have since 
endured a century or two of scoffs, contempts ; they have been a 



UNITAEIAN PROTESTS 267 

bye- word, and a nay-word ; they have stood unmoved : and the 
consequence of long conscientious resistance on one part is invari- 
ably, in the end, remission on the other. The legislature, that 
denied you the tolerance, which I do not know that at that time 
you even asked, gave them the liberty which, without granting, 
they would have assumed. No penalties could have driven them 
into the Churches. This is the consequence of entire measures. 
Had the early Quakers consented to take oaths, leaving a Protest 
with the clerk of the court against them in the same breath with 
which they had taken them, do you in your conscience think 
that they would have been indulged at this day in their exclusive 
privilege of Affirming ? Let your people go on for a century or 
so, marrying in your own fashion, and I will warrant them before 
the end of it the legislature will be willing to concede to them 
more than they at present demand. 

Either the institution of man'iage depends not for its validity 
upon hypocritical compliances with the ritual of an alien Church ; 
and then I do not see why you cannot marry among yourselves, as 
the Quakers, without their indulgence, would have been doing to 
this day ; or it does depend upon such ritual compliance, and 
then in your Protests you offend against a divine ordinance. I 
have read in the Essex-street Liturgy a form for the celebration 
oi maiTiage. Why is this become a dead letter ? O ! it has never 
been legalised ; that is to say, in the law's eye it is no marriage. 
But do you take upon you to say, in the view of the gospel it 
would be none ? Would your own people at least look upon a 
couple so paired, to be none .'' But the case of dowries, alimonies, 
inheritances, &c. which depend for their validity upon the cere- 
monial of the Church by law established — are these nothing ? 
That our children are not legally Filii Nullius — is this nothing.? 
I answer, nothing ; to the preservation of a good conscience, 
nothing ; to a consistent Christianity, less than nothing. Sad 
worldly thorns they are indeed, and stumbling blocks, well worthy 
to be set out of the way by a legislature calling itself Christian ; 
but not likely to be removed in a huri'y by any shrewd legislators, 
who perceive that the petitioning complainants have not so much 
as bruised a shin in the resistance ; but, prudently declining the 
briars and the prickles, nestle quietly down in the smooth two-sided 
velvet of a Protesting Occasional Conformity. — I am, dear sir, 

With much respect, yours, &c. 

Elia. 



268 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MR: MUNDEN 

In a letter to the Editor 
(1825) 

HARK'EE, Mr. Editor. A word in your ear. They tell me 
you are going to put me in print — in print, Sir. To 
publish my life. What is my life to you, Sir ? What is it to 
you whether I ever lived at all ? My life is a very good life, Sir. 
I am insured at the Pelican, Sir. I am threescore years and six — 
six ; mark me, Sir : but I can play Polonius, which, I believe, few 
of your corre — correspondents can do. Sir. I suspect tricks. Sir : I 
smell a rat ; I do, I do. You would cog the die upon us ; you 
would, you would. Sir. But I will forestall you. Sir. You would 
be deriving me from William the Conqueror, with a murrain to 
you. It is no such thing. Sir. The town shall know better, Sir. 
They begin to smoke your flams. Sir. Mr. Liston may be born 
where he pleases. Sir ; but I will not be born at Lup — Lupton 
Magna, for any body's pleasure. Sir. My son and I have looked 
over the great map of Kent together, and we can find no such 
place as you would palm upon us, Sir ; palm upon us, I say. 
Neither Magna nor Parva, as my son says, and he knows Latin, 
Sir; Latin. If you write my life true, Sir, you must set down, 
that I, Joseph Munden, comedian, came into the world upon All- 
hallows' day, Anno Domini, 1759 — 1759 ; no sooner nor later, 
Sir : and I saw the first light — the first light, remember. Sir, at Stoke 
Pogis — Stoke Pogis, comitatu Bucks, and not at Lup — Lup[ton] 
Magna, which I believe to be no better than moonshine — moon- 
shine ; do you mark me. Sir ? I wonder you can put such Aim 
flams upon us. Sir ; I do, I do. It does not become you, Sir ; I 
say it — I say it. And my father was an honest tradesman. Sir : 
he dex.It in malt and hops, Sir, and was a Corporation man, Sir, 
and of the Church of England, Sir, and no Presbyterian ; nor Ana 
— Anabaptist, Sir, however you may be disposed to make honest 
people believe to the contrary. Sir. Your bams are found out. Sir. 
The town will be your stale puts no longer, Sir ; and you must not 
send us jolly fellows, Sir — we that are comedians. Sir, — you must 
not send us into groves and Char — Charnwoods, a moping. Sir. 
Neither Charns, nor charnel houses. Sir. It is not our constitutions. 
Sir. I tell it you — I tell it you. I was a droll dog from my 
cradle. I came into the world tittering, and the midwife tittered, 
and the gossips spilt their caudle with tittering. And when I was 
brought to the font, the parson could not christen me for tittering. 
So I was never more than half baptized. And when I was little 



AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MR. MUNDEN 269 

Joey, I made 'em all titter ; — there was not a melancholy face to 
be seen in Pogis. Pure nature, Sir. I was born a comedian. Old 
Screwup, the undertaker, could tell you, Sir, if he were living. 
Why, I was obliged to be locked up every time there was to be a 
funeral at Pogis. I was — I was. Sir. I used to grimace at the 
mutes, as he called it, and put 'em out with my mops and my 
mows, till they couldn't stand at a door for me. And when I was 
locked up, with nothing but a cat in my company, I followed my 
bent with trying to make her laugh, and sometimes she would, 
and sometimes she would not. And my schoolmaster could make 
nothing of me : I had only to thrust my tongue in my cheek — in 
my cheek. Sir — -and the rod dropped from his fingers: and so my 
education was limited. Sir. And I grew up a young fellow, and it 
was thought convenient to enter me upon some course of life that 
should make me serious ; but it wouldn't do, Sir. And I was 
articled to a drysalter. My father gave forty pounds premium 
with me, Sir. I can show the indent — dent — ndentures, Sir. But 
I was born to be a comedian. Sir : so I ran away, and listed with 
the players, Sir ; and I topt my parts at Amersham and Gerrard's 
Cross, and played my own father to his face, in his own town of 
Pogis, in the part of Gripe, when I was not full seventeen years of 
age, and he did not know me again, but he knew me afterwards ; 
and then he laughed, and I laughed, and, what is better, the dry- 
salter laughed, and gave me up my articles for bhe joke's sake : so 
that I came into court afterwards with clean hands — with clean 
hands — do you see. Sir ? 

[Here the manuscript becomes illegible for two or three sheets 
onwards, which we presume to be occasioned by the absence of Mr. 
Munden, jun. who clearly transcribed it for the press thus far. 
The rest (with the exception of the concluding paragraph, which 
seemingly is resumed in the first hand writing) appears to contain a 
confused account of some lawsuit, in which the elder Munden was 
engaged; with a circumstantial history of the proceedings on a 
case of Breach of Promise of Marriage, made to or by (we cannot 
pick out which) Jemima Munden, spinster, probably the comedian's 
cousin, for it does not appear he had any sister ; with a few dates, 
rather better preserved, of this great actor's engagements — as 
"Cheltenham (spelt Cheltnam) 1776;" "Bath, 1779;" "London, 
1789 ; " together with stage anecdotes of Messrs. Edwin, Wilson, 
Lee Lewis, &c. over which we have strained our eyes to no 
purpose, in the hope of presenting something amusing to the 
public. Towards the end the manuscript brightens up a little, as 
we have said, and concludes in the following manner.] 

stood before them for six and thirty years, [we suspect that 

Mr. Munden is here speaking of his final leave-taking of the stage] 



270 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

and to be dismissed at last. But I was heart-whole, heart-whole to 
the last, Sir. What though a few drops did course themselves 
down the old veteran's cheeks ; who could help it, Sir .'' I was a 
giant that night. Sir ; and could have played fifty parts, each as 
arduous as Dozy. My faculties were never better. Sir. But I was 
to be laid upon the shelf. It did not suit the public to laugh with 
their old servant any longer, Sir. [Here some moisture has blotted 
a sentence or two.] But I can play Polonius still. Sir ; I can, I can. 

Your servant, Sir, 

Joseph Mukden. 



THE " LEPUS " PAPERS 

(1825) 

I.— MANY FRIENDS 

UNFORTUNATE is the lot of that man, who can look round 
about the wide world, and exclaim with truth, / have no 
friend ! Do you know any such lonely suiFerer ? For mercy sake 
send him to me. I can afford him plenty. He shall have them 
good, cheap. I have enough and to spare. Truly society is the 
balm of human life. But you may take a surfeit from sweetest 
odours administered to satiety. Hear my case, dear Variorum, 
and pity me. I am an elderly gentleman — not old — a sort of 
middle-aged-gentleman-and-a-half — with a tolerable larder, cellar, 
&c. ; and a most unfortunately easy temper for the callous front of 
impertinence to try conclusions on. My day times are entirely 
engrossed by the business of a public office, where I am any thing 
but alone from nine till five. I have forty fellow-clerks about me 
during those hours ; and, though the human face be divine, I 
protest that so many human faces seen every day do very much 
diminish the homage I am willing to pay to that divinity. It fares 
with these divine resemblances as with a Polytheism. Multiply the 
object and you infallibly enfeeble the adoration. "What a piece 
of work is Man ! how excellent in faculty," &c. But a great many 
men together — a hot huddle of rational creatures — Hamlet himself 
would have lowered his contemplation a peg or two in my situation. 
Toedet me harum quotidianarum, formarum. I go home every 
day to my late dinner, absolutely famished and face-sick. I am 
sometimes fortunate enough to go off unaccompanied. The relief 



THE "LEPUS" PAPERS 271 

is restorative like sleep ; but far oftener, alas ! some one of my 
fellows, who lives my way (as they call it) does me the sociality of 
walking with me. He sees me to the door ; and now I figure to 
myself a snug fire-side — comfortable meal — a respiration from the 
burthen of society — and the blessedness of a single knife and fork. 
I sit down to my solitary mutton, happy as Adam when a bachelor. 
I have not swallowed a mouthful, before a startling ring announces 
the visit of a friend. O ! for an everlasting muffle upon that 
appalling instrument of torture ! A knock makes me nervous ; 
but a ring is a positive fillip to all the sour passions of my nature : 
— and yet such is my effeminacy of temperament, I neither tie up 
the one nor dumbfound the other. But these accursed friends, or 
fiends, that torture me thus ! They come in with a full conscious- 
ness of their being unwelcome — with a sort of grin of triumph over 
your weakness. My soul sickens within when they enter. I can 
scarcely articulate a "how d'ye." My digestive powers fail. I 
have enough to do to maintain them in any healthiness when alone. 
Eating is a solitary function ; you may drink in company. Accord- 
ingly the bottle soon succeeds ; and such is my infirmity, that the 
reluctance soon subsides before it. The visitor becomes agreeable. 
I find a great deal that is good in him ; wonder I should have felt 
such aversion on his first entrance ; we get chatty, conversible ; 
insensibly comes midnight ; and I am dismissed to the cold bed of 
celibacy (the only place, alas ! where I am suffered to be alone) 
with the reflection that another day has gone over my head without 
the possibility of enjoying my own free thoughts in solitude even 
for a solitary moment. O for a Lodge in some vast wilderness ! 
the den of those Seven Sleepers (conditionally the other six were 
away) — a Crusoe solitude ! 

What most disturbs me is, that my chief annoyers are mostly 
young men. Young men, let them think as they please, are no 
company singly for a gentleman of my years. They do mighty 
well in a mixed society, and where there are females to take them 
off", as it were. But to have the load of one of them to one's own 
self for successive hours conversation is unendurable. 

There was my old friend Captain Beacham — he died some six 
years since, bequeathing to ray friendship three stout young men, his 
sons, and seven girls, the tallest in the land. Pleasant, excellent 
young women they were, and for their sakes I did, and could endure 
much. But they were too tall. I am superstitious in that respect, 
and think that to a just friendship, something like proportion in 
stature as well as mind is desirable. Now I am five feet and a trifle 
more. Each of these young women rose to six, and one exceeded 
by two inches. The brothers are proportionably taller. I have 
sometimes taken the altitude of this friendship ; and on a modest 



272 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

computation I may be said to have known at one time a whole fur- 
long of Beachams. But the young women are married off, and dis- 
persed among the provinces. The brothers are left. Nothing is 
more distasteful than these relics and parings of past friendships — 
unmeaning records of agreeable hours flown. There are three of 
them. If they hunted in triples, or even couples, it were some- 
thing ; but by a refinement of persecution, they contrive to come 
singly ; and so spread themselves out into three evenings molestation 
in a week. Nothing is so distasteful as the sight of their long legs, 
couched for continuance upon my fender. They have been mates 
of Indiamen ; and one of them in particular has a story of a shark 
swallowing a boy in the bay of Calcutta. I wish the shark had 
swallowed him. Nothing can be more useless than their conver- 
sation to me, unless it is mine to them. We have no ideas (save of 
eating and drinking) in common. The shark story has been told 
till it cannot elicit a spark of attention ; but it goes on just as usual. 
When I try to introduce a point of literature, or common life, the 
mates gape at me. When I fill a glass, they fill one too. Here is 
sympathy. And for this poor correspondency of having a gift 
of swallowing and retaining liquor in common with my fellow- 
creatures, I am to be tied up to an ungenial intimacy, abhorrent 
from every sentiment, and every sympathy besides. But I cannot 
break the bond. They are sons of my old friend. 

Lefus. 

II.— READERS AGAINST THE GRAIN 

No one can pass through the streets, alleys, and blindest thorough- 
fares of this Metropolis, without surprise at the number of shops 
opened everywhere for the sale of cheap publications — not blasphemy 
and sedition — nor altogether flimsy periodicals, though the latter 
abound to a surfeit — but I mean fair re-prints of good old books. 
Fielding, Smollett, the Poets, Historians, are daily becoming ac- 
cessible to the purses of poor people. I cannot behold this result 
from the enlargement of the reading public without congratulations 
to my country. But as every blessing has its wrong side, it is 
with aversion I behold springing up with this phenomenon a race of 
Readers against the grain. Young men who thirty years ago 
would have been play-goers, punch-drinkers, cricketers, &c. with 
one accord are now — ^Readers ! — a change in some respects, perhaps, 
salutary ; but I liked the old way best. Then people read because 
they liked reading. He must have been indigent indeed, and, as 
times went then, probably unable to enjoy a book, who from one 
little circulating library or another (those slandered benefactions 
to the public) could not pick out an odd volume to satisfy the 
intsrvals of the workshop and the desk. Then if a man told you 



THE "LEPUS" PAPERS 273 

that he " loved reading mightily, but had no books," you might 
be sure that in the first assertion at least he was mistaken. Neither 
had he, perhaps, the materials that should enliven a punch-bowl 
in his own cellar; but if the rogue loved his liquor, he would 
quickly find out where the arrack, the lemons, and the sugar dwelt 
— he would speedily find out the circulating shop for them. I will 
illustrate this from my own observation. It may detract a little 
from the gentility of your columns when I tell your Readers that 
I am — what I hinted at in my last — a Bank Clerk. Three and 
thirty years ago, when I took my first station at the desk, out of 
as many fellows in office one or two there were that had read a 
little. One could give a pretty good account of the Spectator. 
A second knew Tom Jones. A third recommended Telemachus. 
One went so far as to quote Hudibras, and was looked on as a 
phenomenon. But the far greater number neither cared for books, 
nor affected to care. They were, as I said, in their leisure hours, 
cricketers, punch-drinkers, play-goers, and the rest. Times are 
altered now. We are all readers ; our young men are split up into 
so many book-clubs, knots of literati ; we criticise ; we read the 
Quarterly and Edinburgh, I assure you ; and instead of the old, 
honest, unpretending illiterature so becoming to our profession — we 
read and judge of every thing. I have something to do in these book- 
clubs, and know the trick and mystery of it. Every new publication 
that is likely to make a noise, must be had at any rate. By some they 
are devoured with avidity. These would have been readers in the 
old time I speak of. The only loss is, that for the good old read- 
ing of Addison or Fielding's days is substituted that never-ending 
flow of thin novelties which axe kept up like a ball, leaving no 
possible time for better things, and threatening in the issue to 
bury or sweep away from the earth the memory of their nobler 

Eredecessors. We read to say that we have read. No reading can 
eep pace with the writing of this age, but we pant and toil after 
it as fast as we can. I smile to see an honest lad, who ought to be 
at trap-ball, laboring up hill against this giant load, taking his toil 
for a pleasure, and with that utter incapacity for reading which 
betrays itself by a certain silent movement of the lips when 
the reader reads to hiynself, undertaking the infinite contents 
of fugitive poetry, or travels, what not — -to see them with their 
snail pace undertaking so vast a journey as might make faint a 
giant's speed ; keeping a volume, which a real reader would get 
through in an hour, three, four, five, six days, and returning it 
with the last leaf but one folded down. These are your readers 
against the grain, who yet must read or be thought nothing of 
— who, crawling through a book with tortoise-pace, go creeping 
to the next Review to learn what they shall say of it. Upon my 
VOL. I. — 18 



274 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

soul, I pity the honest fellows mightily. The self-denials of virtue 
are nothing to the patience of these self tormentors. If I hate one 
day before another, it is the accursed first day of the month, when 
a load of periodicals is ushered in and distributed to feed the reluc- 
tant monster. How it gapes and takes in its prescribed diet, as 
little savoury as that which Daniel ministered to that Apocryphal 
dragon, and not more wholesome! Is there no stopping the eternal 
wheels of the Press for a half century or two, till the nation recover 
its senses ? Must we Tnagazine it and review [it] at this sickening 
rate for ever ? Shall we never again read to be amused ? but to 
judge, to criticise, to talk about it and about it ? Farewel, old 
honest delight taken in books not quite contemporary, before this 
plague-token of modern endless novelties broke out upon us — 
farewel to reading for its own sake ! 

Rather than follow in the train of this insatiable monster of 
modern reading, I would forswear my spectacles, play at put, 
mend pens, kill fleas, stand on one leg, shell peas, or do what- 
soever ignoble diversion you shall put me to. Alas ! I am htirried 
on in the vortex. I die of new books, or the everlasting talk about 
them. I faint of Longman's. I sicken of the Constables. Black- 
wood and Cadell have me by the throat. 

I will go and relieve myself with a page of honest John Bunyan, 
or Tom Brown. Tom anybody will do, so long as they are not of 
this whiffling century. 

Your Old-fashioned Correspondent, 

Lepus. 

III.— MORTIFICATIONS OF AN AUTHOR 

If you have a son or daughter inclinable to the folly of Author- 
ship, pray warn them by my example of the mortifications which 
are the constant attendants upon it. I do not advert to the trite 
instances of unfair and malignant reviewing, though that is not 
nothing — but to the mortifications they may expect from their 
friends and common acquaintance. I have been a dabler this way, 
and cannot resist flinging out my thoughts occasionally in periodical 
publications. I was the chief support of the ********' 
Magazine while it lasted, under the signature of Olindo. All 
my friends guessed, or rather knew, who Olindo was ; but I 
never knew one who did not take a pleasure in affecting to be 
ignorant of it. One would ask me, whether I had read that clever 
article in the ********* Magazine of this month (and 
here I began to prick up my ears) signed " Zekiel Homespun." 
— (Then my ears would flap down again.) — Another would praise 
the verses of " X. Y. Z. ; " a third stood up for the " Gipsy 



* 



THE "LEPUS" PAPERS 275 

Stranger ; " a long rambling tale in prose, with all the lengthiness, 

and none of the fine-heartedness and gush of soul of A n 

C m to recommend it. But never in a single instance was 

Olindo ever hinted at. I have sifted, I have pumped them (as the 
vulgar phrase is) till my heart ached, to extort a pittance of 
acknowledgment. I have descended to arts below any animal but 
an Author, who is veritably the meanest of Heaven's creatures, 
and my vanity has returned upon myself ungratified, to choke me. 
When I could bear their silence no longer and have ventured to 
ask them how they liked " such a Paper ; " a cold, " O ! was that 
yours ? " is the utmost I ever obtained from them. A fellow sits 
at my desk this morning, spelling The New Times over from 
head to tail, and I know that he will purposely skip over this 
article, because he suspects me to be Lepus. So confident am I 
of this, and of his deliberate purpose to torment me, that I have 
a great mind to give you his character — knowing that he will not 
read it — but I forbear him at present. They have two ways of 
doing it. "The ********* Magazine is very sprightly 
this month, Anticlericus has some good hits, the Old Baker is 
capital," and, so forth. Or the same Magazine is " unusually dull 
this month," especially when Olindo happens to have an article 
better or longer than usual. I publish a book now and then. In 
the very nick of its novelty, the honey moon, as it were — when with 
pride I have placed my bantling on my own shelves in company 
with its betters, a friend will drop in, and ask me if I have 
anything new ; then, carefully eluding mine, he will take down 
The Angel of the World, or Barry Cornwall, and beg me to 
lend it him. " He is particularly careful of new books." But he 
never borrows 'me. To one Lady I lent a little Novel of mine, a 
thing of about two hours' reading at most, and she returned it 
after five weeks' keeping, with an apology that she had " so small 
time for reading." I found it doubled down at the last leaf but 
one — just at the crisis of what I conceived to be a very aifecting 
catastrophe. O if you write, dear Reader, keep the secret in- 
Ariolable from your most familiar friends. Do not let your own 
father, brother, or your uncle, know it : not even your wife. I 
know a Lady who prides herself upon "not reading any of her 
husband's publications," though she swallows all the trash she can 
pick up besides ; and yet her husband in the world's eye is a very 
respectable author, and has written some Novels in particular that 
are in high estimation. Write — and all your friends will hate you 
— all will suspect you. Are you happy in drawing a character ? 
Shew it not for yours. Not one of your acquaintance but will 
surmise that you meant him or her — no matter how discordant 
from their own. Let it be diametrically different, their fancy will 



276 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

extract from it some lines of a likeness. I lost a friend — a most 
valuable one, by shewing him a whimsical draught of a miser. He 
himself is remarkable for generosity, even to carelessness in money 
matters ; but there was an expression in it, out of Juvenal, about 
an attic — a place where pigeons are fed ; and my friend kept 
pigeons. All the waters in the Danube cannot wash it out of his 
pate to this day, but that in my miser I was making reflections 
upon him. To conclude, no creature is so craving after applause, 
and so starved and famished for it, as an author : none so pitiful, 
and so little pitied. He sets himself up prima facie as something 
different from his brethren, and they never forgive him. ''Tis the 
fable of the little birds hooting at the bird of Pallas. 

Lepus. 

IV.— TOM PRY 

My friend Tom Pry is a kind, warm-hearted fellow, with no 
one failing in the world but an excess of the piassion of Curiosity. 
He knows every body's name, face, and domestic affairs. He scents 
out a match three months before the parties themselves are quite 
agreed about it. Like the man in the play, homo est and no 
human interest escapes him. I have sometime wondered how he 
gets all his information. Mere inquisitiveness would not do his 
business. Certainly the bodily make has much to do with the 
character. The auricular organs in my friend Tom do not lie 
flapping against his head as with common mortals, but they perk 
up like those of a hare at form. The lowest sound cannot elude 
him. Every parlour and drawing-room is to him a whispering 
gallery. His own name, pronounced in the utmost compression of 
susurration, they say, he catches at a quarter furlong interval. I 
suspect sometimes that the faculty of hearing with him is analogous 
to the scent in some animals. He seems hung round with ears, 
like the pagan emblem of Fame, and to imbibe sounds at every 
pore. You cannot take a walk of business or pleasure, but you are 
taxed with it by him next morning, with some shrewd guess at the 
purpose of it. You dread him as you would an inquisitor, or the 
ubiquitarian power of the old Secret Tribunal. He is the bird of 
the air, who sees the matter. He has lodgings at a corner house, 
which looks out four ways ; and though you go a round about way 
to evade his investigation, you are somehow seen notwithstanding. 
He sees at multiplied angles. He is a sort of second memory to 
all his friends, an excellent refresher to a dull or oblivious con- 
science ; for he can repeat to you at any given time all that ever 
you have done in your life. He should have been a death-bed 
confessor. His appetite for information is omnivorous. To get at 
the name only of a stranger whom he passes in the street, he 



THE "LEPUS" PAPEES 277 

counts a God-send ; what further he can pick up is a luxury. His 
friends joke with him about his innocent propensity, but the bent 
of nature is too deeply burned in to be removed with such forks. 
Usque recurrit. I myself in particular had been rallying him 
pretty sharply one day upon the foible, and it seemed to impress 
him. a little. He asked no more questions that morning. But 
walking with him in St. James's Park in the evening, we met an old 
Gentleman unknown to him, who bowed to me. I could see that 
Tom kept his psission within with great struggles. Silence was 
observed for ten minutes, and I was congratulating myself on my 
friend's mastery over this inordinate appetite of knowing every thing, 
when we had not past the Queen's gate a pace or two, but the fire 
burnt within him, and he said, as if with indifference, " By the way, 
who was that friend of yours who bowed to you just now ?" He 
has a place in the Post-office, which I think he chose for the 
pleasure of reading superscriptions. He is too honorable a man, 
I am sure, to get clandestinely at the contents of a letter not 
addressed to him, but the outside he cannot resist. It tickles him. 
He plays about the flame, as it were; contents himself with a 
superficial caress, when he can get at nothing more substantial. 
He has a handsome seal, which he keeps to proffer to such of his 
friends as have not one in readiness, when they would fold up an 
epistle ; nay, he will seal it for you, and pays himself by discover- 
ing the direction. As I have no directionary secrets, I generally 
humour him with pretending to have left my seal at home (though 
I carry a rich gold one, which was my grandfather's, always about 
me), to gratify his harmless inclination. He is the cleverest of 
sealing a letter of any man I ever knew, and turns out the cleanest 
impressions. It is a neat but slow operation with him — he has 
so much more time to drink in the direction. With all this 
curiosity, he is the finest tempered fellow in the world. You may 
banter him from morning to night, but never ruffle his temper. 
We sometimes raise reports to mislead him, as that such a one is 
going to be married next month, &c. ; but he has an instinct, as I 
called it before, which prevents his yielding to the imposition. He 
distinguishes at hearing between giddy rumour and steady report. 
He listens with dignity, and his prying is without credulity. 

Lepus. 
v.— TOM PRY'S WIFE 

You say you were diverted with my description of the " Curious 
Man." Tom is in some respects an amusing character enough, but 
then it is by no means uncommon. But what power of words can 
paint Tom's wife ? My pencil faulters while I attempt it. But I 
am ambitious that the portraits should hang side by side : they 



278 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

may set off one another. Tom's passion for knowledge in the 
pursuit is intense and restless, but when satisfied it sits down and 
seeks no further. He must know all about every thing, but his 
desires terminate in mere science. Now as far as the pure mathe- 
matics, as they are called, transcend the practical, so far does 
Tom's curiosity, to my mind, in elegance and disinterestedness, soar 
above the craving, gnawing, mercenary (if I may so call it) in- 
quisitiveness of his wife. 

Mrs. Priscilla Pry must not only know all about your private 
concerns, but be as deeply concerned herself for them : she will 
pluck at the very heart of your mystery. She must anatomise and 
skin you, absolutely lay your feelings bare. Her passions are 
reducible to two, but those are stronger in her than in any human 
creature — pity and envy. I will try to illustrate it. She has 
intimacy with two families — the Grimstones and the Gubbins's. 
The former are sadly pinched to live, the latter are in splendid 
circumstances : the former tenant an obscure third floor in Devereux 
Court, the latter occupy a stately mansion in May-fair. I have 
accompanied her to both these domiciles. She will burst into the 
incommodious lodging of poor Grimstone and his wife at some 
unseasonable hour, when they are at their meagre dinner, with a 
" Bless me ! what a dark passage you have ! I could hardly find 
my way up stairs ! Isn't there a drain somewhere ? Well, I like to 
see you at your little bit of mutton ! " But her treat is to catch 
them at a meal of solitary potatoes. Then does her sympathy 
burgeon, and bud out into a thousand flowers of rhetorical pity 
and wonder ; and it is trumpeted out afterwards to all her acquaint- 
ance, that the poor Grimstones were " making a dinner without 
flesh yesterday." The word poor is her favorite ; the word (on 
my conscience) is endeared to her beyond any monosyllable in the 
language. Poverty, in the tone of her compassion, is somehow 
doubled ; it is emphatically what a dramatist, with some licence, 
has called poor poverty. It is stark-naked indigence, and never 
in her mind connected with any mitigating circumstances of self- 
respect and independence in the owner, which give to poverty a 
dignity. It is an object of pure pity, and nothing else. This is 
her first way. Change we the scene to May-fair and the Gubbins's. 
Suppose it a morning call : — 

" Bless me ! — (for she equally blesses herself against want and 
abundance) — what a style you do live in ! what elegant curtains ! 
You must have a great income to afford all these things. I wonder 
you can ever visit such poor folks as we ! " — with more to the same 
purpose, which I must cut short, not to be tedious. She pumps 
all her friends to know the exact income of all her friends. Such 
a one must have a great salary. Do you think he has as much as 



THE "LEPUS" PAPERS 279 

eight hundred a year — seven hundred and fifty perhaps ? A wag 
once told her I had fourteen hundred — (Heaven knows we Bank 
Clerks, though with no reason to complain, in few cases realise that 
luxury) — and the fury of her wonder, till I undeceived her, nearly 
worked her spirits to a fever. Now Pry is equally glad to get at 
his friends' circumstances ; but his curiosity is disinterested, as I 
said, and passionless. No emotions are consequent upon the 
satisfaction of it. He is a philosopher who loves knowledge for 
its own sake ; she is not content with a lumen siccum (dry know- 
ledge, says Bacon, is best) ; the success of her researches is nothing, 
but as it feeds the two main springs between which her soul is kept 
in perpetual conflict — Pity, and Envy. 

Lepus. 

VI.— A CHARACTER 

A desk at the Bank of England is prinna facie not the point in 
the world that seems best adapted for an insight into the characters 
of men ; yet something may be gleaned from the barrenest soil. 
There is Egomet, for instance. By the way, how pleasant it is 
to string up one's acquaintance thus, in the grumbler's corner of 
some newspaper, and for them to know nothing at all about it ; 
nay, for them to read their own characters and suspect nothing of 
the matter. Blessings on the writer who first made use of Roman 
names. It is only calling Tomkins — Caius ; and Jenkins — Titus ; 
or whipping Hopkins upon the back of Scaevola, and you have the 
pleasure of executing sentence with no pain to the offender. This 
hanging in effigy is delightful ; it evaporates the spleen without 
souring the blood, and is altogether the most gentlemanly piece of 
Jack-Ketchery imaginable. 

Egomet, then, has been my desk-fellow for thirty years. He 
is a remarkable species of selfishness. I do not mean that he is 
attentive to his own gain ; I acquit him of that common-place 
manifestation of the foible. I shoot no such small deer. But his 
sin is a total absorption of mind in things relating to himself — his 
house — his horse — his stable — his gardener, &c. Nothing that 
concerns himself can he imagine to be indifferent to you. — He 
does my sympathy too much honour. The worst is, he takes no 
sort of interest whatever in your horse, house, stable, gardener, &c. 
If you begin a discourse about your own household economy and 
small matters, he treats it with the most mortifying indifference. 
He has discarded all pronouns for the first-personal. His in- 
attention, or rather aversion, to hear, is no more than what is a 
proper return to a self-important babbler of his own little concerns ; 
but then, if he will not give, why should he expect to receive, a 
hearing ? " There is no reciprocity in this." 



280 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

There is an egotism of vanity ; but his is not that species either. 
He is not vain of any talent, or indeed properly of any thing he 
possesses ; but his doings and sayings, his little pieces of good or 
ill luck, the sickness of his maid, the health of his pony, the ques- 
tion whether he shall ride or walk home to-day to Clapham, the 
shape of his hat or make of his boot ; his poultry, and how many 
eggs they lay daily — are the never-ending topics of his talk. Your 
goose might lay golden eggs without exciting in him a single 
curiosity to hear about it. 

He is alike throughout ; his large desk, which abuts on mine — 
nimium vicini, alas ! is a vast lumber chest composed of every 
scrap of most insignificant paper, even to dinner invitation cards, 
every fragment that has been addressed to him, or in any way has 
concerned himself. My elbow aches with being perpetually in the 
way of his sudden jerking it up, which he does incessantly to hunt 
for some worthless scrap of the least possible self-reference ; this he 
does without notice, and without ceremony. I should like to make 
a bonfire of the ungainful mass — but I should not like it either ; 
with it would fall down at once all the structure of his pride — his 
fane of Diana, his treasure, his calling, the business he came into 
the world to do. 

I said before, he is not avaricious — -not egotistical in the vain 
sense of the word either ; therefore the term selfishness, or egotism, 
is improperiy applied to his distemper ; it is the sin of self-fullness. 
Neither is himself, properly speaking, an object of his contemplation 
at all ; it is the things, which belong or refer to himself. His 
conversation is one entire soliloquy ; or it may be said to resemble 
Robinson Crusoe's self-colloquies in his island : you are the parrot 
sitting by. Begin a story, however modest, of your own concerns 
(something of real interest perhaps), and the little fellow contracts 
and curls up into his little self immediately, and, with shut ears, sits 
unmoved, self-centered, as remote from your joys or sorrows as a 
Pagod or a Lucretian Jupiter. 

Lepus. 



REFLECTIONS IN THE PILLORY 

(1825) 

r A BOUT the year 18 — , one R d, a respectable London 

L/v merchant (since dead), stood in the pillory for some alleged 
fraud upon the Revenue. Among his papers were found the 
following " Reflections," which we have obtained by favour of our 



REFLECTIONS IN THE PILLORY 281 

friend Elia, who knew him well, and had heard him describe the 
train of his feelings upon that trying occasion almost in the words 
of the MS. Elia speaks of him as a man (with the exception 
of the peccadillo aforesaid) of singular integrity in all his private 
deahngs, possessing great suavity of manner, with a certain turn 
for humour. As our object is to present human nature under every 
possible circumstance, we do not think that we shall sully our pages 
by inserting it. — Editor.^ 

Scene, opposite the Royal Exchange 

Time, Twelve to One, Noon 

Ketch, my good fellow, you have a neat hand. Prithee, adjust 
this new collar to my neck, gingerly. I am not used to these 
wooden cravats. There, softly, softly. That seems the exact point 
between ornament and strangulation. A thought looser on this 
side. Now it will do. And have a care in turning me, that I 
present my aspect due vertically. I now face the orient. In a 
quarter of an hour I shift southward — do you mind ? — and so on 
till I face the east again, travelling with the sun. No half-points, 
I beseech you ; N.N. by W. or any such elaborate niceties. They 
become the shipman's card, but not this mystery. Now leave me 
a little to my own reflections. 

t, Bless us, what a company is assembled in honour of me ! How 
grand I stand here ! I never felt so sensibly before the effect of 
solitude in a crowd. I muse in solemn silence upon that vast 
miscellaneous rabble in the pit there. From my private box I 
contemplate with mingled pity and wonder the gaping curiosity of 
those underlings. There are my Whitechapel supporters. Rose- 
mary Lane has emptied herself of the very flower of her citizens to 
grace my show. Duke's place sits desolate. What is there in my 
face, that strangers should come so far from the east to gaze upon 
it? [Here an egg narrowly misses him.] That offering was 
well meant, but not so cleanly executed. By the tricklings, it 
should not be either myrrh or frankincence. Spare your presents, 
my friends ; I am no-ways mercenary. I desire no missive tokens 
of your approbation. I am past those valentines. Bestow these 
coffins of untimely chickens upon mouths that water for them. 
Comfort your addle spouses with them at home, and stop the 
mouths of your brawling brats with such 011a Podridas ; they have 
need of them. [A brick is let fly.] Disease not, I pray you, nor 
dismantle your rent and ragged tenements, to furnish me with 
architectural decorations, which I can excuse. This fragment 
might have stopped a flaw against snow comes. [A coal flies.] 
Cinders are dear, gentlemen. This nubbling might have helped 



282 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

the pot boil, when your dirty cuttings from the shambles at three 
ha'-pence a pound shall stand at a cold simmer. Now, south about, 
Ketch. I would enjoy australian popularity. 

What my friends from over the water ! Old benchers — flies of 
a day — ephemeral Romans — welcome ! Doth the sight of me draw 
souls from limbo ? Can it dispeople purgatory — ha ! 

What am I, or what was my father's house, that I should thus 
be set up a spectacle to gentlemen and others ? Why are all faces, 
like Persians at the sun-rise, bent singly on mine alone ? It was 
wont to be esteemed an ordinary visnomy, a quotidian merely. 
Doubtless, these assembled myriads discern some traits of nobleness, 
gentility, breeding, which hitherto have escaped the common ob- 
servation — some intimations, as it were, of wisdom, valour, piety, 
and so forth. My sight dazzles ; and, if I am not deceived by the 
too familiar pressure of this strange neckcloth that envelopes it, my 
countenance gives out lambent glories. For some painter now to 
take me in the lucky point of expression ! — the posture so con- 
venient — the head never shifting, but standing quiescent in a sort 
of natural frame. But these artizans require a westerly aspect. 
Ketch, turn me. 

Something of St. James's air in these my new friends. How my 
prospects shift, and brighten ! Now if Sir Thomas Lawrence be 
any where in that group, his fortune is made for ever. I think I 
see some one taking out a crayon. I will compose my whole face 
to a smile, which yet shall not so predominate, but that gravity and 
gaiety shall contend as it were — ^you understand me ? I will work 
up my thoughts to some mild rapture — a gentle enthusiasmus — 
which the artist may transfer in a manner warm to the canvass. I 
will inwardly apostrophize my tabernacle. 

Delectable mansion, hail ! House, not made of every wood ! 
Lodging, that pays no rent ; airy and commodious ; which, owing 
no window tax, art yet all casement, out of which men have such 
pleasure in peering and overlooking, that they will sometimes stand 
an hour together to enjoy thy prospects ! Cell, recluse from the 
vulgar ! Quiet retirement from the great Babel, yet afibrding 
sufiicient glimpses into it ! Pulpit, that instructs without note 
or sermon-book, into which the preacher is inducted without 
tenth or first fruit ! Throne, unshared and single, that disdain- 
est a Brentford competitor! Honour without co-rival! Or hearest 
thou rather, magnificent theatre in which the spectator comes to 
see and to be seen ? From thy giddy heights I look down upon 
the common herd, who stand with eyes upturned as if a winged 
messenger hovered over them ; and mouths open, as if they ex- 
pected manna. I feel, I feel, the true Episcopal yearnings. Behold 
in me, my flock, your true overseer ! What though I cannot lay 



THE LAST PEACH 283 

hands, because my own are laid, yet I can mutter benedictions. 
True otium cum dignitate ! Proud Pisgah eminence ! Pinnacle 
sublime ! O Pillory, 'tis thee I sing ! Thou younger brother to 
the gallows, without his rough and Esau palms ; that with ineffable 
contempt surveyest beneath thee the grovelling stocks, which claims 
presumptuously to be of thy great race. Let that low wood know, 
that thou art tar higher born ! Let that domicile for groundling 
rogues and base earth-kissing varlets envy thy preferment, not sel- 
dom fated to be the wanton baiting-house, the temporary retreat, 
of poet and of patriot. Shades of Bastwick and of Prynne hover 
over thee — Defoe is there, and more greatly daring Shebbeare — 
from their (little more elevated) stations they look down with 
recognitions. Ketch, turn me. 

I now veer to the north. Open your widest gates, thou proud 
Exchange of London, that I may look in as proudly ! Gresham's 
wonder, hail ! I stand upon a level with all your kings. They, 
and I, from equal heights, with equal superciliousness, o'er-look 
the plodding, money-hunting tribe below ; who, busied in their 
sordid speculations, scarce elevate their eyes to notice your ancient, 
or my recent, grandeur. The second Charles smiles on me from 
three pedestals ? '■ He closed the Exchequer : I cheated the Excise. 
Equal our darings, equal be our lot. 

Are those the quarters ? 'tis their fatal chime. That the ever- 
winged hours would but stand still ! but I must descend, descend 
from this dream of greatness. Stay, stay, a little while, impor- 
tunate hour hand ! A moment or two, and I shall walk on foot 
with the undistinguished many. The clock speaks one. I return 
to common life. Ketch, let me out. 



THE LAST PEACH 

(1825) 

I AM the miserablest man living.! Give me counsel, dear Editor. 
I was bred up in the strictest principles of honesty, and have 
passed my life in punctual adherence to them. Integrity might be 

1 A statue of Charles II. by the elder Cibber, adorns the front of the Exchange. 
He stands also on high, in the train of his crowned ancestors, in his proper order, 
within that building. But the merchants of London, in a superfcetation of loyalty, 
have, within a few years, caused to be erected another effigy of him on the ground in 
the centre of the interior. We do not hear that a fourth is in contemplation. — 
Editor. 



284 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

said to be ingrained in our family. Yet I live in constant fear of 
one day coming to the gallows. 

Till the latter end of last autumn I never experienced these 
feelings of self-mistrust which ever since have embittered my ex- 
istence. From the apprehension of that unfortunate man whose 
story began to make so great an impression upon the public about 
that time, I date my horrors. I never can get it out of my head 
that I shall some time or other commit a forgery, or do some 
equally vile thing. To make matters worse I am in a banking- 
house. I sit surrounded with a cluster of bank-notes. These were 
formerly no more to me than meat to a butcher's dog. They are 
now as toads and aspics. I feel all day like one situated amidst 
gins and pit-falls. Sovereigns, which I once took such pleasure in 
counting out, and scraping up with my little thin tin shovel (at 
which I was the most expert in the banking-house), now scald my 
hands. When I go to sign my name I set down that of another 
person, or write my own in a counterfeit character. I am beset 
with temptations without motive. I want no more wealth than I 
possess. A more contented being than myself, as to money 
matters, exists not. What should I fear ? 

When a child I was once let loose, by favour of a Nobleman's 
gardener, into his Lordship's magnificent fruit garden, with free 
leave to pull the currants and the gooseberries ; only I was inter- 
dicted from touching the wall fruit. Indeed, at that season (it was 
the end of Autumn) there was little left. Only on the South wall 
(can I forget the hot feel of the brick-work ?) lingered the one last 
peach. Now peaches are a fruit I always had, and still have, 
an almost utter aversion to. There is something to my palate 
singularly harsh and repulsive in the flavour of them. I know not 
by what demon of contradiction inspired, but I was haunted by an 
irresistible desire to pluck it. Tear myself as often as I would from 
the spot, I found myself still recurring to it, till, maddening with 
desire (desire I cannot call it), with wilfulness rather — without 
appetite — against appetite, I may call it — in an evil hour I reached 
out my hand, and plucked it. Some few rain drops just then fell; 
the sky (from a bright day) became overcast ; and I was a type of 
our first parents, after the eating of that fatal fruit. I felt myself 
naked and ashamed ; stripped of my virtue, spiritless. The downy 
fruit, whose sight rather than savour had tempted me, dropt from 
my hand, never to be tasted. All the commentators in the world 
cannot persuade me but that the Hebrew word in the second 
chapter of Genesis, translated apple, should be rendered peach. 
Only this way can I reconcile that mysterious story. 

Just such a child at thirty am I among the cash and valuables, 
longing to pluck, without an idea of enjoyment further. I cannot 



ODES TO GEEAT PEOPLE 285 

reason myself out of these fears : I dare not laugh at them. I was 
tenderly and lovingly brought up. What then? Who that in 

life's entrance had seen the babe F , from the lap stretching 

out his little fond mouth to catch the maternal kiss, could have 
predicted, or as much as imagined, that life's very different exit ? 
The sight of my own fingers torments me ; they seem so admirably 

constructed for pilfering. Then that jugular vein, which I have 

in common ; in an emphatic sense may I say with David, I am 

"fearfully made." All my mirth is poisoned by these unhappy 
suggestions. If, to dissipate reflection, I hum a tune, it changes to 
the " Lamentations of a Sinner." My very dreams are tainted. I 
awake with a shocking feeling of my hand in some pocket. 

Advise with me, dear Editor, on this painful heart-malady. Tell 
me, do you feel any thing allied to it in yourself.? do you never feel 
an itching, as it were — a dactyloTuania — or am I alone ? You have 
my honest confession. My next may appear from Bow-street. 

SUSPENSURUS. 



"ODES AND ADDRESSES TO GREAT PEOPLE" 

(1825) 

THE Odes and Addresses are Thirteen in number. The metre 
is happily varied from the familiar epistolary verse to the 
Eton College stanza, and loftier parodies of Gray, &c. Among the 
Great People addressed are — Graham the Aeronaut, Mr. McAdam, 
Mrs. Fry, Martin of Galway, R. W. Elliston, Esq., &c. &c. from 
which the reader may gather that the Addresses are not mere un- 
qualified or fulsome dedications. They have, in fact, a fund of fun. 
They remind us of Peter Pindar, and sometimes of Colman ; they 
have almost as much humour, and they have rather more wit. A 
too great aim at brilliancy is their excess. We do not think that 
in any work there can be too much brilliancy of the same kind. 
We are not of opinion with those critics who condemn Cowley for 
excess of wit. We could have borne with a double portion of it, 
and have never cried " Hold." What we allude to is a mixture of 
incompatible kinds ; the perpetual recurrence of puns in these 
little effusions of humour ; puns uncalled for, and perfectly gratui- 
tous, a sort of make-weight ; puns, which, if Tnissed, leave the 
sense and the drollery full and perfect without them. You may 



286 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

read any one of the addresses, and not catch a quibble in it, and it 
shall be just as good, nay better; for the addition of said quibble 
only serves to puzzle with an unnecessary double meaning. A pun 
is good when it can rely on its single self; but, called in as an 
accessory, it weakens — unless it makes the humour, it enfeebles it. 
All this critical prosing is not quite a fair introduction to the 
pleasant specimen we subjoin, from the pleasantest morceau in the 
volume, which we throw upon the taste of our pantomime-going 
readers, with a hearty confidence in their sympathies. The subject 
is no less a one than their and our Joe — -the immortal Grimaldi. 

Joseph ! they say thou'st left the stage, 

To toddle down the hill of life, 
And taste the flannell'd ease of age. 

Apart from pantomimic strife — 



Ah, where is now thy rolling head ! 

Thy winking, reeling, drunken eyes, 
(As old Catullus would have said,) 

Thy oven-mouth, that swallow'd pies — 
Enormous hunger — monstrous drowth ! — 
Thy pockets greedy as thy mouth ! 

Ah, where thy ears, so often cufTd !— 
Thy funny, flapping, filching hands ! — 

Thy partridge body, always stufTd 

With waifs, and strays, and contrabands ! — 

Thy foot — like Berkeley's Foote — for why? 

'Twas often made to wipe an eye ! X 

Ah, where thy legs — that witty pair ! 

For *' great wits jump " — and so did they I 
Lord ! how they leap'd in lamp-light air I 

Caper'd — and bounc'd — and strode away ! — 
That years should tame the legs — alack ! 
I've seen spring thro' an Almanack ! 

But bounds will have their bound X — the shocks 
Of Time will cramp the nimblest toes ; 

And those that frisk'd in silken clocks 
May look to limp in fleecy hose — 



And gout, that owns no odds between 
The toe of Czar and toe of Clown, 

Will visit — but I did not mean 
To moralize, though I am grown 

Thus sad. — Thy going seem'd to beat 

A muffled drum for Fun's retreat I 



Oh, how will thy departure cloud 
The lamp-light of the little breast I 

The Christmas child will grieve aloud 
To miss his broadest friend and best, — 



THE EELIGION OF ACTOES 287 

For who like thee could ever stride I 

Some dozen paces to the mile ! — 
The motley, medley coach provide — 

Or like Joe Frankenstein compile 
The vegetable man complete ! — 
A proper Covent Garden feat 1 

Or, Viho like thee could ever drink. 
Or eat, — swill, swallow — bolt — and choke ! 

Nod, weep, and hiccup — sneeze and wink ? — 
Thy very yawn was quite a joke ! 

Tho' Joseph, Junior, acts not ill, 

" There's no Fool like the old Fool " still I 

All that is descriptive here is excellent. It seems to us next in 
merit to some of Gibber's dramatic comic portraitures. Joe, the 
absolute Joe, lives again in every line. We have just set our 
mark X against two puns to exemplify our foregoing remarks. 
The first of them is a positive stop to the current of our joyous 
feelings. What possible analogy, or contrast even, can there be 
between a comic gesture of Grimaldi, and the serious misfortunes of 
the lady, except in verbal sound purely ? The sound is good, be- 
cause the humour lies in the pun, and moreover has reference to 
Milton's 

at one bound 



High over leaps all bounds. 

A pun is a humble companion to wit, but disdains to be a train- 
bearer merely. But these poems are rich in fancies, which, in 
truth, needed not such aid. 



THE RELIGION OF ACTORS 

(1826) 

THE world has hitherto so little troubled its head with the 
points of doctrine held by a community, which contributes 
in other ways so largely to its amusement, that, before the late 
mischance of a celebrated tragic actor, it scarce condescended to 
look into the practice of any individual player, much less to 
inquire into the hidden and abscondite springs of his actions. 
Indeed it is with some violence to the imagination that we conceive 
of an actor as belonging to the relations of private life, so closely 
do we identify these persons in our mind with the characters which 
they assume upon the stage. How oddly does it sound, when we 



288 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

are told that the late Miss Pope, for instance — that is to say, in our 
notion of her, Mrs. Candour — was a good daughter, an affection- 
ate sister, and exemplary in all the parts of domestic life ! With 
still greater difficulty can we carry our notions to church, and 
conceive of Liston, kneeling upon a hassock ; or Munden uttering 
a pious ejaculation, " making mouths at the invisible event." But 
the times are fast improving ; and, if the process of sanctity begun 
under the happy auspices of the present licenser go on to its com- 
pletion, it will be as necessary for a comedian to give an account 
of his faith, as of his conduct. Fawcett must study the five 
points ; and Dicky Suett, if he were alive, would have to rub up 
his catechism. Already the effects of it begin to appear. A 
celebrated performer has thought fit to oblige the world with a 

confession of his faith ; or, Ba 's RELIGIO DRAMATICI. 

This gentleman, in his laudable attempt to shift from his person 
the obloquy of Judaism, with the forwardness of a new convert, 
in trying to prove too much, has, in the opinion of many, proved 
too little. A simple declaration of his Christianity was sufficient ; 
but, strange to say, his apology has not a word about it. We are 
left to gather it from some expressions which imply that he is a 
Protestant ; but we did not wish to inquire into the niceties of his 
orthodoxy. To his friends of the old persuasion the distinction 
was impertinent ; for what cares Rabbi Ben Kimchi for the 
differences which have split our novelty ? To the great body of 
Christians that hold the Pope's supremacy — that is to say, to the 
major part of the Christian world — his religion will appear as much 
to seek as ever. But perhaps he conceived that all Christians are 
Protestants, as children and the common people call all that are 
not animals. Christians. The mistake was not very considerable 
in so young a proselyte ; or he might think the general (as 
logicians speak) involved in the particular. All Protestants are 
Christians ; but I am a Protestant ; ergo, &c. as if a marmoset, 
contending to be a man, overleaping that term as too generic and 
vulgar, should at once roundly proclaim himself to be a gentleman. 
The argument would be, as we say, ex abundanti. From which- 
ever cause this excessus in terminis proceeded, we can do no less 
than congratulate the general state of Christendom upon the 
accession of so extraordinary a convert. Who was the happy 
instrument of the conversion, we are yet to learn : it comes nearest 
to the attempt of the late pious Doctor Watts to christianize the 
Psalms of the Old Testament. Something of the old Hebrew raciness 
is lost in the transfusion ; but much of its asperity is softened and 
pared down in the adaptation. The appearance of so singular a 
treatise at this conjuncture has set us upon an inquiry into the 
present state of religion upon the stage generally. By the favour 



THE RELIGION OF ACTORS 289 

of the churchwardens of Saint Martin's in the Fields, and Saint 
Paul's Covent-Garden, who have very readily, and with great 
kindness, assisted our pursuit, we are enabled to lay before the 
public the following particulars. — Strictly speaking, neither of the 
two great bodies is collectively a religious institution. We had ex- ' 
pected to have found a chaplain among them, as at Saint Stephen's, 
and other court establishments ; and were the more surprised at the 
omission, as the last [? late] Mr. Bengough, at the one house, and Mr. 
Powell at the other, from a gravity of speech and demeanour, and the 
habit of wearing black at their first appearances in the beginning of 
fifth, or the conclusion oi fourth acts, so eminently pointed out their 
qualifications for such office. These corporations then being not 
properly congregational, we must seek the solution of our question 
in the tastes, attainments, accidental breeding, and education of 
the individual members of them. As we were prepared to expect, 
a majority at both houses adhere to the religion of the church estab- 
lished, only that at one of them a pretty strong leaven of Catholicism 
is suspected : which, considering the notorious education of the 
manager at a foreign seminary, is not so much to be wondered at. 

Some have gone so far as to report that Mr. T y, in particular, 

belongs to an order lately restored on the Continent. We can 
contradict this : that gentleman is a member of the Kirk of Scot- 
land ; and his name is to be found, much to his honour, in the list 
of Seceders ft-om the congregation of Mr. Fletcher. While the 
generality, as we have said, are content to jog on in the safe 
trammels of national orthodoxy, symptoms of a sectarian spirit 
have broken out in quarters where we should least have looked for 
it. Some of the ladies at both houses are deep in controverted 

points. Miss F e, we are credibly informed, is a sub, and 

Madame V a sttpr a-lapsarian. 

Mr. Pope is the last of the exploded sect of the Ranters. Mr. 
Sinclair has joined the Shakers. Mr. Grimaldi, Senior, after being 
long a Jumper, has lately fallen into some whimsical theories 
respecting the Fall of Man ; which he understands, not of an 
allegorical, but a real tumble, by which the whole body of humanity 
became, as it were, lame to the performance of good works. Pride 
he will have to be — nothing but a stiff-neck ; irresolution — the 
nerves shaken ; an inclination to sinister paths — crookedness of 
the joints ; spiritual deadness — a paralysis ; want of charity — a 
contraction in the fingers ; despising of government — a broken 
head ; the plaister — a sermon ; the lint to bind it up — the text ; 
the probers — the preachers ; a pair of crutches — the old and new 
law ; a bandage — ^religious obligation : a fanciful mode of illus- 
tration derived from the accidents and habits of his past calling 
spiritualised, rather than from any accurate acquaintance with 
VOL. I. — 19 



290 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

the Hebrew text, in which report speaks him but a raw scholar. 
— Mr. Elliston, from all that we can learn, has his religion yet to 
choose ; though some think him a Mu[g]gletonian. 



A POPULAR FALLACY 

(1826) 

"T^HAT a deformed person is a lord. — After a careful perusal 
-* of the most approved works that treat of nobility, and of its 
origin, in these realms in particular, we are left very much in the 
dark as to the original patent, in which this branch of it is recog- 
nised. Neither Camden in his " Etymologic and Original of Barons," 
nor Dugdale in his " Baronage of England," nor Selden (a more 
exact and laborious enquirer than either) in his " Titles of Honour," 
afford[s] a glimpse of satisfaction upon the subject. There is an 
heraldic terra, indeed, which seems to imply gentility, and the 
right to coat armour, (but nothing further) in persons thus quali- 
fied. But the sinister bend is more probably interpreted, by the 
best writers on this scieuce, of some irregularity of birth, than of 
bodily conformation. Nobility is either hereditary, or by creation, 
commonly called patent. Of the former kind, the title in question 
cannot be, seeing that the notion of it is limited to a personal 
distinction, which does not necessarily follow in the blood. Honours 
of this nature, as Mr. Anstey very well observes, descend moreover 
in a right line. It must be by patent then, if any thing. But 
who can show it ? How comes it to be dormant ? Under what 
king's reign is it pretended ? Among the grounds of nobility cited 
by the learned Mr. Ashmole, after " Services in the Field or in the 
Council Chamber," he judiciously sets down " Honours conferred by 
the sovereign out of mere benevolence, or as favouring one subject 
rather than another, for some likeness or conformity observed (or 
but supposed) in him to the royal nature ; " and instances the 
graces showered upon Charles Brandon, who " in his goodly person 
being thought not a little to favour the port and bearing of the 
king's own majesty, was by that sovereign, King Henry the Eighth, 
for some or one of these respects, highly promoted and preferred." 
Here, if any where, we thought we had discovered a clue to our 
researches. But after a painful investigation of the rolls and 
records under the reign of Richard the Third, or Richard Crouch- 



A POPULAR FALLACY 291 

back, as he is more usually designated in the chronicles, from a 
traditionary stoop, or gibbosity in that part, — we do not find that 
that monarch conferred any such lordships, as are here pretended, 
upon any subject, or subjects, on a simple plea of "conformity" in 
that respect to the " royal nature." The posture of affairs in those 
tumultuous times, preceding the battle of Bosworth, possibly left 
him at no leisure to attend to such niceties. Further than his 
reign we have not extended our enquiries ; the kings of England 
who preceded, or followed him, being generally described by 
historians to have been of straight and clean limbs, the " natural 
derivative (says Daniel ^) of high blood, if not its primitive re- 
commendation to such ennoblement, as denoting strength and 
martial prowess — the qualities set most by in that fighting age." 
Another motive, which inclines us to scruple the validity of this 
claim, is the remarkable fact, that none of the persons, in whom 
the right is supposed to be vested, do ever insist upon it themselves. 
There is no instance of any of them " sueing his patent," as the 
law-books call it ; much less of his having actually stepped up into 
his proper seat, as, so qualified, we might expect that some of them 
would have had the spirit to do, in the House of Lords. On the 
contrary, it seems to be a distinction thrust upon them. " Their 
title of Lord (says one of their own body, speaking of the common 
people) I never much valued, and now I entirely despise : and 
yet they will force it upon me as an honour which they have a 
right to bestow, and which I have none to refuse."^ Upon a 
dispassionate review of the subject, we are disposed to believe that 
there is no right to the peerage incident to mere bodily configura- 
tion ; that the title in dispute is merely honorary, and depending 
upon the breath of the common people ; which in these realms is so 
far from the power of conferring nobility, that the ablest constitu- 
tionalists have agreed in nothing more unanimously, than in the 
maxim that the King is the sole fountain of honour. 



^ History of England, " Temporibus Edwardi Primi et sequentibus." 
2 Hay on Deformity. 



292 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 



REMINISCENCES OF JUKE JUDKINS, ESQ., OF 
BIRMINGHAM 

(1826) 

I AM the only son of a considerable brazier in Birmingham, who 
dying in 1803, left me successor to the business, with no other 
incumbrance than a sort of rent-charge, which I am enjoined to pay 
out of it, ninety-three pounds sterling per annum to his widow, 
my mother ; and which the improving state of the concern, I bless 
God, has hitherto enabled me to discharge with punctuality. (I say, 
I am enj oined to pay the said sum, but not strictly obligated ; that 
is to say, as the will is worded, I believe the law would relieve me 
from the payment of it ; but the wishes of a dying parent should 
in some sort have the effect of law.) So that though the annual 
profits of my business, on an average of the last three or four years, 
would appear to an indifferent observer, who should inspect my 
shop-books, to amount to the sum of one thousand three hundred 
and three pounds, odd shillings, the real proceeds in that time 
have fallen short of that sum to the amount of the aforesaid 
payment of ninety-three pounds sterling annually. 

I was always my father's favourite. He took a delight to the 
very last in recounting the little sagacious tricks, and innocent arti- 
fices, of my childhood. One manifestation thereof I never heard 
him repeat without tears of joy trickling down his cheeks. It 
seems that when I quitted the parental roof (August 27th, 1788,) 
being then six years and not quite a month old, to proceed to the 
Free School at Warwick, where my father was a sort of trustee, 
my mother — as mothers are usually provident on these occasions 
— had stuffed the pockets of the coach, which was to convey me 
and six more children of my own growth, that were going to be 
entered along with me at the same seminary, with a prodigious 
quantity of gingerbread, which I remember my father said was 
more than was needed ; and so indeed it was, for if I had been to 
eat it all myself, it would have got stale and mouldy before it had 
been half spent. The consideration whereof set me upon my con- 
trivances how I might secure to myself as much of the gingerbread 
as would keep good for the next two or three days, and yet none of 
the rest in a manner be wasted. I had a little pair of pocket com- 
passes which I usually carried about me for the purpose of making 
draughts and measurements, at which I was always very ingenious, 
of the various engines and mechanical inventions, in which such a 
town as Birmingham abounded. By the means of these, and a 



REMINISCENCES OF JUKE JUDKINS 293 

small penknife, which my father had given me, I cut out the one 
half of the cake, calculating that the remainder would reasonably 
serve my turn, and subdividing it into many little slices, which were 
curious to see for the neatness and niceness of their proportion, I 
sold it out in so many pennyworths to my young companions, as 
served us all the way to Warwick, which is a distance of some 
twenty miles from this town ; and very merry, I assure you, we 
made ourselves with it, feasting all the way. By this honest 
stratagem I put double the prime cost of the gingerbread into my 
purse, and secured as much as I thought would keep good and 
moist for my next two or three days eating. When I told this to 
my parents on their first visit to me at Warwick, my father (good 
man) patted me on the cheek, and stroked my head, and seemed as 
if he could never make enough of me ; but my mother unaccount- 
ably burst into tears, and said " it was a very niggardly action," 
or some such expression, and that " she would rather it would 
please God to take me," — meaning, God help me, that I should 
die — " than that she should live to see me grow up a mean man " 
— which shows the difference of parent from parent, and how some 
mothers are more harsh and intolerant to their children than some 
fathers ; when we might expect quite the contrary. My father, 
however, loaded me with presents from that time, which made 
me the envy of my schoolfellows. As I felt this growing dis- 
position in them, I naturally sought to avert it by all the means in 
my power ; and from that time I used to eat my little packages of 
fruit, and other nice things, in a corner so privately, that I was 
never found out. Once, I remember, I had a huge apple sent me, 
of that sort which they call cats' heads. I concealed this all day 
under my pillow ; and at night, but not before I had ascertained 
that my bedfellow was sound asleep, which I did by pinching him 
rather smartly two or three times, which he seemed to perceive no 
more than a dead person, though once or twice he made a motion 
as if he would turn, which frightened me — I say, when I had made 
all sure, I fell to work upon my apple ; and though it was as big as 
an ordinary man's two fists, I made shift to get through it before 
it was time to get up ; and a more delicious feast I never made, — 
thinking all night what a good parent I had (I mean my father) to 
send me so many nice things, when the poor lad that lay by me 
had no parent or friend in the world to send him any thing nice ; 
and thinking of his desolate condition, I munched and munched as 
silently as I could, that I might not set him a longing if he over- 
heard me : and yet for all this considerateness, and attention to 
other people's feelings, I was never much a favourite with my 
school-fellows, which I have often wondered at, seeing that I 
never defrauded any one of them of the value of a halfpenny, or 



294 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

told stories of them to their master, as some little lying boys would 
do, but was ready to do any of them all the services in my power, 
that were consistent with my own well doing. I think nobody can 
be expected to go further than that. But I am detaining my 
reader too long in the recording of my juvenile days. It is time 
that I should go forward to a season when it became natural that 
I should have some thoughts of marrying, and, as they say, settling 
in the world. Nevertheless my reflections on what I may call the 
boyish period of my life may have their use to some readers. It is 
pleasant to trace the man in the boy ; to observe shoots of gener- 
osity in those young years, and to watch the progress of liberal 
sentiments, and what I may call a genteel way of thinking, which 
is discernible in some children at a very early age, and usually lays 
the foundation of all that is praiseworthy in the manly character 
afterwards. 

With the warmest inclinations towards that way of life, and a 
serious conviction of its superior advantages over a single one, it has 
been the strange infelicity of my lot, never to have entered into the 
respectable estate of matrimony. Yet I was once very near it. I 
courted a young woman in my twenty-seventh year — for so early 
I began to feel symptoms of the tender passion ! She was well to 
do in the world, as they call it ; but yet not such a fortune as, all 
things considered, perhaps I might have pretended to. It was not 
my own choice altogether ; but my mother very strongly pressed me 
to it. She was always putting it to me, that " I had comings in 
sufficient, that I need not stand upon a portion." Though the 
young woman, to do her justice, had considerable expectations, 
which yet did not quite come up to my mark, as I told you before. 
She had this saying always in her mouth, that " I had money 
enough, that it was time I enlarged my housekeeping, and to show 
a spirit befitting my circumstances." In short, what with her 
importunities, and my own desires in part co-operating — for, as I 
said, I was not yet quite twenty-seven — a time when the youthful 
feelings may be pardoned, if they show a little impetuosity — I 
resolved, I say, upon all these considerations, to set about the 
business of courting in right earnest. I was a young man then ; 
and having a spice of romance in my character (as the reader has 
doubtless observed long ago), such as that sex is apt to be taken 
with, I had reason in no long time to think my addresses were any 
thing but disagreeable. 

Certainly the happiest part of a young man's life is the time 
when he is going a courting. All the generous impulses are then 
awake, and he feels a double existence in participating his hopes 
and wishes with another being. Return yet again for a brief 
moment, ye visionary views — transient enchantments ! ye moonlight 



REMINISCENCES OF JUKE JUDKINS 295 

rambles with Cleora in the Silent Walk at Vauxhall— (N.B. about 
a mile from Birmingham, and resembling the gardens of that 
name near London, only that the price of admission is lower) 
—when the nightingale has suspended her notes in June to 
listen to our loving discourses, while the moon was overhead 
(for we generally used to take our tea at Cleora's mother's before 
we set out, not so much to save expenses, as to avoid the publicity 
of a repast in the gardens, coming in much about the time of half- 
price, as they call it) — ye soft intercommunions of soul, when ex- 
changing mutual vows we prattled of coming felicities! The 
loving disputes we have had under those trees, when this house 
(planning our future settlement) was rejected, because though 
cheap it was dull; and the other house was given up, because 
though agreeably situated it was too high-rented — one was too 
much in the heart of the town, another was too far from business. 
These minutiffi will seem impertinent to the aged and the prudent. 
I write them only to the young. Young lovers, and passionate as 
being young (such were Cleora and I then) alone can understand 
me. After some weeks wasted, as I may now call it, in this sort of 
amorous colloquy, we at length fixed upon the house in the High- 
street, No. 203, just vacated by the death of Mr. Hutton of this 
town, for our future residence. I had till that time lived in lodgings 
(only renting a shop for business) to be near to my mother ; near I 
say, not in the same house with her, for that would have been to 
introduce confusion into our housekeepings, which it was desirable 
to keep separate. O, the loving wrangles, the endearing differences, 
I had with Cleora, before we could quite make up our minds to the 
house that was to receive us — I pretending for argument sake that 
the rent was too high, and she insisting that the taxes were 
moderate in proportion ; and love at last reconciling us in the same 
choice. I think at that time, moderately speaking, she might have 
had any thing out of me for asking. I do not, nor shall ever regret 
that my character at that time was marked with a tinge of 
prodigality. Age comes fast enough upon us, and in its good time 
will prune away all that is inconvenient in these excesses. Perhaps 
it is right that it should do so. Matters, as I said, were ripening 
to a conclusion between us, only the house was yet not absolutely 
taken — some necessary arrangements, which the ardour of my 
youthful impetuosity could hardly brook at that time (love and 
youth will be precipitate)— some preliminary arrangements, I say, 
with the landlord respecting fixtures — very necessary things to be 
considered in a young man about to settle in the world, though not 
very accordant with the impatient state of my then passions — some 
obstacles about the valuation of the fixtures, had hitherto precluded 
(and I shall always think providentially) my final closes with his 



296 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

offer, when one of those accidents, which, unimportant in themselves, 
often arise to give a turn to the most serious intentions of our life, 
intervened, and put an end at once to my projects of wiving and 
of housekeeping. I was never much given to theatrical entertain- 
ments ; that is, at no time of my life was I ever what they call a 
regular play-goer ; but on some occasion of a benefit-night, which 
was expected to be very productive, and indeed turned out so, 
Cleora expressing a desire to be present, I could do no less than 
offer, as I did very willingly, to 'squire her and her mother to the 
pit. At that time it was not customary in our town for tradesfolk, 
except some of the very topping ones, to sit as they now do in the 
boxes. At the time appointed I waited upon the ladies, who had 
brought with them a young man, a distant relation, whom it seems 
they had invited to be of the party. This a little disconcerted me, 
as I had about me barely silver enough to pay for our three selves 
at the door, and did not at first know that their relation had pro- 
posed paying for himself. However, to do the young man justice, 
he not only paid for himself, but for the old lady besides, leaving 
me only to pay for two, as it were. In our passage to the theatre, 
the notice of Cleora was attracted to some orange wenches that 
stood about the doors vending their commodities. She was leaning 
on my arm, and I could feel her every now and then giving me a 
nudge, as it is called, which I afterwards discovered were hints that 
I should buy some oranges. It seems it is a custom at Birmingham, 
and perhaps in other places, when a gentleman treats ladies to the 
play, — especially when a full night is expected, and that the house 
will be inconveniently warm, to provide them with this kind of 
fruit, oranges being esteemed for their cooling property. But how 
could I guess at that, never having treated ladies to a play before, 
and being, as I said, quite a novice at these kind of entertainments ? 
At last she spoke plain out, and begged that I would buy some of 
"those oranges," pointing to a particular barrow. But when I 
came to examine the fruit, I did not think that the quality of it was 
answerable to the price. In this way I handled several baskets of 
them, but something in them all displeased me. Some had thin 
rinds, and some were plainly over ripe, which is as great a fault as 
not being ripe enough, and I could not (what they call) make a 
bargain. While I stood haggling with the women, secretly deter- 
mining to put off my purchase till I should get within the theatre, 
where I expected we should have better choice, the young man, the 
cousin, who it seems had left us without my missing him, came 
running to us with his pockets stuffed out with oranges, inside and 
out, as they say. It seems, not liking the look of the barrow- 
fruit, any more than myself, he had slipped away to an eminent 
fruiterer's about three doors distant, which I never had the sense to 



EVERY-DAY BOOK AND TABLE BOOK 297 

think of, and had laid out a matter of two shillings in some of the 
best St. Michael's, I think, I ever tasted. What a little hinge, as 
I said before, the most important affairs in life may turn upon ! 
The mere inadvertence to the fact that there was an eminent 
fruiterer's within three doors of us, though we had just passed it 
without the thought once occurring to me, which he had taken 
advantage of, lost me the affections of my Cleora. From that time 
she visibly cooled towards me, and her partiality was as visibly 
transferred to this cousin. I was long unable to account for this 
change in her behaviour, when one day accidentally discoursing of 
oranges to my mother alone, she let drop a sort of reproach to me, 
as if I had offended Cleora by my nearness, as she called it, that 
evening. Even now, when Cleora has been wedded some years to 
that same officious relation, as I may call him, I can hardly be 
persuaded that such a trifle could have been the motive to her 
inconstancy ; for could she suppose that I would sacrifice my 
dearest hopes in her to the paltry sum of two shillings, when I was 
going to treat her to the play, and her mother too (an expense of 
more than four times that amount), if the young man had not 
interfered to pay for the latter, as I mentioned ? But the caprices 
of the sex are past finding out ; and I begin to think my mother was 
in the right ; for doubtless women know women better than we can 
pretend to know them. 

Elia. 



CONTRIBUTIONS TO HONE'S EVERY-DAY BOOK 
AND TABLE BOOK 

(1825-1827) 

I.— REMARKABLE CORRESPONDENT 
(1826) 

To the Editor of the Every-Day Book 

SIR, — I am the youngest of Three hundred and sixty-six brethren 
— there are no fewer of us — who have the honour, in the 
words of the good old Song, to call the Sun our Dad. You have 
done the rest of our family the favour of bestowing an especial com- 
pliment upon each member of it individually — I mean, as far as you 
have gone ; for it will take you some time before you can make your 
bow all round — and I have no reason to think that it is your inten- 
tion to neglect any of us but poor Me. Some you have hung round 



298 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

with flowers ; others you have made fine with martyrs' palms and 
saintly garlands. The most insignificant of us you have sent away 
pleased with some fitting apologue, or pertinent story. What have 
I done, that you dismiss me without mark or attribute ? What 
though I make my public appearance seldomer than the rest of my 
brethren ? I thought that angels' visits had been accoxmted the 
more precious for their very rarity. Reserve was always looked 
upon as dignified. I am seen but once, for four times that my 
brethren obtrude themselves ; making their presence cheap and con- 
temptible, in comparison with the state which I keep. 

Am I not a Day (when I do come) to all purposes as much as- 
any of them. Decompose me, anatomise me ; you will find that I 
am constituted like the rest. Divide me into twenty-four, and you 
shall find that I cut up into as many goodly hours (or main limbs) 
as the rest. I too have my arteries and pulses, which are the minutes 
and the seconds. 

It is hard to be dis-familied thus, like Cinderella in her rags 
and ashes, while her sisters flaunted it about in cherry-coloured 
ribbons and favors. My brethren forsooth are to be dubbed ; one. 
Saint Day ; another. Pope Day ; a third. Bishop Day ; the least of 
them is Squire Day, or Mr. Day, while I am — plain Day. Our 
house. Sir, is a very ancient one, and the least of us is too proud to 
put up with an indignity. What though I am but a younger 
brother in some sense — for the youngest of my brethren is by some 
thousand years my senior — yet I bid fair to inherit as long as any 
of them, while I have the Calendar to show; which, you must 
understand, is our Title Deeds. 

Not content with slurring me over with a bare and naked 
acknowledgement of my occasional visitation in prose, you have 
done your best to deprive me of my verse-honours. In column 
310 of your Book, you quote an antique scroll, leaving out the last 
couplet, as if on purpose to affront me. "Thirty days hath 
September "-^so you transcribe very faithfully for four lines, and 
most invidiously suppress the exceptive clause : — 

Except in Leap Year, that's the time 
When February's days hath twenty and— 

I need not set down the rhyme which should follow ; I dare say you 
know it very well, though you were pleased to leave it out. These 
indignities demand reparation. While you have time, it will be 
well for you to make the amende honorable. Ransack your 
stores, learned Sir, I pray of you, for some attribute, biographical, 
anecdotical, or floral, to invest me with. Did nobody die, or no- 
body flourish — was nobody born — upon any of my periodical visits 
to this globe ? does the world stand still as often as I vouchsafe to 
appear ? Am I a blank in the Almanac ? alms for oblivion .'' If 



EVER YD A Y BOOK AND TABLE BOOK 299 

you do not find a flower at least to grace me with (a Forget Me Not 
would cheer me in my present obscurity), I shall prove the worst 
Day to you you ever saw in your life ; and your Work, instead of 
the Title it now vaunts, must be content (every fourth year at least) 
to go by the lame appellation of 
The Every-Day — but — one — Book. 

Yours, as you treat me, 

Twenty Ninth of Febeuaky. 

II.— CAFfAIN STARKEY 
(1826) 

To the Editor of the Every-Day Booh 

Dear Sir, 

I read your account of this unfortunate Being, and his 
forlorn piece of self-history, with that smile of half-interest which 
the Annals of Insignificance excite, till I came to where he says " I 
was bound apprentice to Mr. William Bird, an eminent writer 
and Teacher of languages and Mathematics," &c. — when I started 
as one does on the recognition of an old acquaintance in a supposed 
stranger. This then was that Starkey of whom I have heard my 
Sister relate so many pleasant anecdotes ; and whom, never having 
seen, I yet seem almost to remember. For nearly fifty years she 
had lost all sight of him — and behold the gentle Usher of her youth, 
grown into an aged Beggar, dubbed with an opprobrious title, to 
which he had no pretensions ; an object, and a May game ! To 
what base purposes may we not return ! What may not have 
been the meek creature's sufferings — what his wanderings — before 
he finally settled down in the comparative comfort of an old 
Hospitaller of the Almonry of Newcastle ? And is poor Starkey 
dead ? 

I was a scholar of that " eminent writer " that he speaks of ; but 
Starkey had quitted the school about a year before I came to it. 
Still the odour of his merits had left a fragrancy upon the re- 
collection of the elder pupils. The school-room stands where it 
did, looking into a discoloured dingy garden in the passage leading 
irom Fetter Lane into Bartlett's Buildings. It is still a School, 
though the main prop, alas ! has fallen so ingloriously ; and bears 
a Latin inscription over the entrance in the Lane, which was 
unknown in our humbler times. Heaven knows what " languages " 
were taught in it then ; I am sure that neither my Sister nor 
myself brought any out of it, but a little of our native English. 
By " mathematics," reader, must be understood " cyphering." It 
was in fact a humble day-school, at which reading and writing 
were taught to us boys in the morning, and the same slender 



300 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

erudition was communicated to the girls, our sisters, &c. in the 
evening. Now Starkey presided, under Bird, over both establish- 
ments. In my time, Mr. Cook, now or lately a respectable Singer 
and Performer at Drury-lane Theatre, and Nephew to Mr. Bird, 
had succeeded to him. I well remember Bird. He was a squat, 
corpulent, middle-sized man, with something of the gentleman 
about him, and that peculiar mild tone — especially while he was 
inflicting punishment — which is so much more terrible to children, 
than the angriest looks and gestures. Whippings were not fre- 
quent ; but when they took place, the correction was performed in 
a private room adjoining, whence we could only hear the plaints, 
but saw nothing. This heightened the decorum and the solemnity. 
But the ordinary public chastisement was the bastinado, a stroke or 
two on the palm with that almost obsolete weapon now — the ferule. 
A ferule was a sort of flat ruler, widened at the inflicting end into 
a shape resembling a pear, — hut nothing like so sweet — with a 
delectable hole in the middle, to raise blisters, like a cupping-glass. 
I have an intense recollection of that disused instrument of torture 
— and the malignancy, in proportion to the apparent mildness, 
with which its strokes were applied. The idea of a rod is accom- 
panied with something ludicrous; but by no process can I look 
back upon this blister-raiser with any thing but unmingled horror. 
— To make him look more formidable — if a pedagogue had need 
of these heightenings — Bird wore one of those flowered Indian 
gowns, formerly in use with schoolmasters ; the strange figures 
upon which we used to interpret into hieroglyphics of pain and 
suffering. But boyish fears apart — Bird I believe was in the main 
a humane and judicious master. 

O, how I remember our legs wedged in to those uncomfortable 
sloping desks, where we sat elbowing each other — and the injunc- 
tions to attain a free hand, unattainable in that position ; the first 
copy I wrote after, with its moral lesson " Art improves Nature ; " 
the still earlier pothooks and the hangers some traces of which I 
fear may yet be apparent in this manuscript ; the truant looks 
side-long to the garden, which seemed a mockery of our imprison- 
ment ; the prize for best spelling, which had almost turned my 
head, and which to this day I cannot reflect upon without a vanity, 
which I ought to be ashamed of — our little leaden inkstands, not 
separately subsisting, but sunk into the desks ; the bright, punctu- 
ally-washed morning fingers, darkening gradually with another and 
another ink-spot : what a world of little associated circumstances, 
pains and pleasures mingling their quotas of pleasure, arise at the 
reading of those few simple words — " Mr. William Bird, an eminent 
Writer and Teacher of languages and mathematics in Fetter Lane, 
Holborn ! " 



EVERY-DA Y BOOK AND TABLE BOOK 301 

Poor Starkey, when young, had that peculiar stamp of old- 
fashionedness in his face, which makes it impossible for a beholder 
to predicate any particular age in the object. You can scarce 
make a guess between seventeen and seven and thirty. This antique 
cast always seems to promise ill-luck and penury. Yet it seems, he 
was not always the abject thing he came to. My Sister, who well 
remembers him, can hardly forgive Mr. Thomas Ranson for making 
an etching so unlike her idea of him, when he was a youthful 
teacher at Mr. Bird's school [see page 512]. Old age and poverty 
— a life-long poverty she thinks, could at no time have so effaced 
the marks of native gentility, which were once so visible in a face, 
otherwise strikingly ugly, thin, and care-worn. From her recollec- 
tions of him, she thinks that he would have wanted bread, before 
he would have begged or borrowed a halfpenny. If any of the 
girls (she says) who were my school-fellows should be reading, 
through their aged spectacles, tidings from the dead of their youth- 
ful friend Starkey, they will feel a pang, as I do, at ever having 
teased his gentle spirit. They were big girls, it seems, too old to 
attend his instructions with the silence necessary ; and however old 
age, and a long state of beggary, seem to have reduced his writing 
faculties to a state of imbecility, in those days, his language occasion- 
ally rose to the bold and figurative, for when he was in despair to 
. stop their chattering, his ordinary phrase was, " Ladies, if you will 
not hold your peace, not all the powers in heaven can make you." 
Once he was missing for a day or two ; he had run away. A little 
old unhappy-looking man brought him back — it was his father — 
and he did no business in the school that day, but sate moping in 
a comer, with his hands before his face ; and the girls, his tor- 
mentors, in pity for his case, for the rest of that day forbore to 
annoy him. I had been there but a few months (adds she) 
when Starkey, who was the chief instructor of us girls, communi- 
cated to us as a profound secret, that the tragedy of " Cato " was 
shortly to be acted by the elder boys, and that we were to be 
invited to the representation. That Starkey lent a helping hand 
in fashioning the actors, she remembers ; and but for his unfortunate 
person, he might have had some distinguished part in the scene 
to enact ; as it was, he had the arduous task of prompter assigned 
to him, and his feeble voice was heard clear and distinct, repeating 
the text during the whole performance. She describes her recollec- 
tion of the cast of characters even now with a relish. Martia, by 
the handsome Edgar Hickman, who afterwards went to Africa, 
and of whom she never afterwards heard tidings, — Lucia, by Master 
Walker, whose sister was her particular friend ; Cato, by John 
Hunter, a masterly declaimer, but a plain boy, and shorter by the 
head than his two sons in the scene, &c. In conclusion, Starkey 



302 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

appears to have been one of those mild spirits, which, not originally 
deficient in understanding, are crushed by penury into dejection 
and feebleness. He might have proved a useful adjunct, if not an 
ornament to Society, if Fortune had taken him into a very little 
fostering, but wanting that, he became a Captain — a by-word — 
and lived, and died, a broken bulrush. 



C. L. 



III.— TWELFTH OF AUGUSl 

(1825) 

To the Editor of the Every-Day Book 
The Humble Petition of an Unfortunate Day 



Sir, 



I am a wronged Day. I appeal to you as the general 
patron of the family of the Days. The candour with which you 
attended to the expostulations of a poor relative of ours — a sort of 
cousin thrice removed ^ — encourages me to hope that you will listen 
to the complaint of a Day of rather more consequence. I am the 
Day, Sir, upon which it pleased the course of nature that your 
gracious Sovereign should be born. As such, before his Accession, 
I was always observed and honoured. But since that happy event, 
in which naturally none had a greater interest than myself, a flaw 
has been discovered in my title. My lustre has been eclipsed, and 
— to use the words of one of your own poets, — 

I fade into the light of common day. 

It seems, that about that time, an Impostor crept into Court, 
who has the eflrontery to usurp my honours, and to style herself the 
Xing's-birth-Day, upon some shallow pretence that, being St. 
George's-Day, she must needs be King-George^ s-Day also. All- 
Saints-Day we have heard of, and All-Souls-Day we are willing 
to admit; but does it follow that this foolish Twenty-third of 
April must be All-George^ s-Day, and enjoy a monopoly of the 
whole name from George of Cappadocia to George of Leyden, and 
from George-a-Green down to George Dyer ? 

It looks a little oddly that I was discarded not long after the 
dismission of a set of men and measures, with whom I have nothing 
in common. I hope no whisperer has insinuated into the ears of 
Royalty, as if I were any thing Whiggishly inclined, when, in my 
heart, I abhor all these kind of Revolutions, by which I am sure to 
be the greatest sufferer. 

I wonder my shameless Rival can have the face to let the Tower 
and Park Guns proclaim so many big thundering fibs as they do, 

' Twenty-ninth day of February [see page 297]. 



EVERY DA Y BOOK AND TABLE BOOK 303 

-upon her Anniversary — making your Sovereign too to be older 
than he is, by an hundred and odd days, which is no great compli- 
ment one would think. Consider if this precedent for ante-dating 
of Births should become general, what confusion it must make in 
Parish Registers ; what crowds of young heirs we should have 
coming of age before they are one-and-twenty, with numberless 
similar grievances. If these chops and changes are suffered, we 
shall have Lord-Mayor's-Day eating her custard unauthentically 
in May, and Guy Faux preposterously blazing twice over in the 
Dog-days. 

I humbly submit, that it is not within the prerogatives of Royalty 
itself, to be born twice over. We have read of the supposititious 
births of Princes, but where are the evidences of this first Birth ? 
why are not the nurses in attendance, the midwife, &c. produced ? — 
"the silly story has not so much as a Warming Pan to support it. 

My legal advisers, to comfort me, tell me that I have the right 
on my side ; that I am the true Birth-Dai/, and the other Day is 
only kept. But what consolation is this to me, as long as this 
naughty-A;ep^ creature keeps me out of my dues and privileges ? 

Pray take my unfortunate case into your consideration, and see 
"that I am restored to my lawful Rejoicings, Firings, Bon-Firings, 
Illuminations, &c. 

And your Petitioner shall ever pray. 

Twelfth Day of August. 

IV.— THE ASS 

(1825) 

For Hone's Every-Day Book 

Mr. Collier, in his " Poetical Decameron " (Third Conversation) 

notices a Tract, printed in 1595, with the author's initials only, 

A. B., entitled " The Noblenesse of the Asse : a work rare, learned, 

and excellent." He has selected the following pretty passage from 

it. " He (the Ass) refuseth no burthen, he goes whither he is sent 

without any contradiction. He lifts not his foote against any one ; 

he bytes not ; he is no fugitive, nor malicious affected. He doth 

all things in good sort, and to his liking that hath cause to employ 

him. If strokes be given him, he cares not for them ; and, as our 

modem poet singeth, 

' Thou wouldst (perhaps) he should become thy foe, 

And to that end dost beat him many times ; 

He cares not for himselfe, much lesse thy blow.' " ^ 

1 Who this modern poet was, says Mr. C, is a secret worth discovering. — The 
wood-cut on the title of the Pamphlet is — an Ass with a wreath of laurel round 
his neck. 



304 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

Certainly Nature, foreseeing the cruel usage which this useful 
servant to man should receive at man's hand, did prudently in 
furnishing him with a tegument impervious to ordinary stripes. 
The malice of a child, or a weak hand, can make feeble impressions, 
on him. His back offers no mark to a puny foeman. To a com- 
mon whip or switch his hide presents an absolute insensibility. 
You might as well pretend to scourge a school-boy with a tough 
pair of leather breeches on. His jerkin is well fortified. And 
therefore the Costermongers " between the years 1790 and 1800 " 
did more politicly than piously in lifting up a part of his upper 
garment. 1 well remember that beastly and bloody custom. I 
have often longed to see one of those refiners in discipline himself 
at the cart's tail, with just such a convenient spot laid bare to the 
tender mercies of the whipster. But since Nature has resumed her 
rights, it is to be hoped, that this patient creature does not suffer 
to extremities ; and that to the savages who still belabour his poor 
carcase with their blows (considering the sort of anvil they are laid 
upon) he might in some sort, if he could speak, exclaim with the 
philosopher, " Lay on : you beat but upon the case of Anaxarchus." 

Contemplating this natural safeguard, this fortified exterior, it is 
with pain 1 view the sleek, foppish, combed and curried, person of 
this animal, as he is transmuted and disnaturalized at Watering 
Places, &c. where they affect to make a palfrey of him. Fie on all 
such sophistications! — It will never do, Master Groom. Something 
of his honest shaggy exterior will still peep up in spite of yoU — his 
good, rough, native, pine-apple coating. You cannot " refine a 
scorpion into a fish, though you rince it and scour it with ever 
so cleanly cookery."^ 

The modem poet, quoted by A. B., proceeds to celebrate a 
virtue, for which no one to this day had been aware that the 
Ass was remarkable. 

One other gift this beast hath as his owne, 
Wherewith the rest could not be furnished ; 
On man himselfe the same was not bestowne, 
To wit — on him is ne'er engendered 
The hatefull vermine that doth teare the skin 
And to the bode [body] doth make his passage in. 

And truly when one thinks on the suit of impenetrable armour 
with which Nature (like Vulcan to another Achilles) has provided 
him, these subtle enemies to our repose, would have shown some 
dexterity in getting into his quarters. As the bogs of Ireland by 
tradition expel toads and reptiles, he may well defy these smaU 
deer in his fastnesses. It seems the latter had not arrived at 

' Milton : from memory. 



EVERY-DAY BOOK AND TABLE BOOK 305 

the exquisite policy adopted by the human vermin " between 
1790 and 1800." 

But the most singular and delightful gift of the Ass, according 
to the writer of this pamphlet, is his voice ; the " goodly, sweet, 
and continual brayings " of which, " whereof they forme a melodious 
and proportionable kinde of musicke," seem to have affected him 
with no ordinary pleasure. " Nor thinke I," he adds, " that any 
of our immoderne musitians can deny, but that their song is full of 
exceeding pleasure to be heard ; because therein is to be discerned 
both concord, discord, singing in the meane, the beginning to sing 
in large compasse, then following on to rise and fall, the halfe note, 
whole note, musicke of five voices, firme singing by four voices, 
three together or one voice and a halfe. Then their variable 
contrarieties amongst them, when one delivers forth a long tenor, 
or a short, the pausing for time, breathing in measure, breaking 
the minim or very least moment of time. Last of all to heare 
the musicke of five or six voices chaunged to so many of Asses, 
is amongst them to heare a song of world without end." 

There is no accounting for ears ; or for that laudable enthusiasm 
with which an Author is tempted to invest a favourite subject with 
the most incompatible perfections. I should otherwise, for my own 
taste, have been inclined rather to have given a place to these 
extraordinary musicians at that banquet of nothing-less-than- 
sweet-sounds, imagined by old Jeremy Collier (Essays, 1698 ; Part. 
2. — On Music.) where, after describing the inspirating effects of 
martial music in a battle, he hazards an ingenious conjecture, 
whether a sort of Anti-music might not be invented, which should 
have quite the contrary effect of " sinking the spirits, shaking the 
nerves, curdling the blood, and inspiring despair, and cowardice 
and consternation." " Tis probable " he says, " the roaring of 
lions, the warbling of cats and screech-owls, together with a mix- 
ture of the howling of dogs, judiciously imitated and compounded, 
might go a great way in this invention." The dose, we confess, is 
pretty potent, and skilfully enough prepared. But what shall 
we say to the Ass of Silenus (quoted by Tims), who, if we may 
trust to classic lore, by his own proper sounds, without thanks 
to cat or screech-owl, dismaid and put to rout a whole army of 
giants .'' Here was Anti-music with a vengeance ; a whole Pan- 
Dis-Harm.onicon in a single lungs of leather ! 

But I keep you trifling too long on this Asinine subject. I have 
already past the Pons Asinorum,, and will desist, remembering 
the old pedantic pun of Jem Boyer, my schoolmaster : — 

Ass in prcBsenti seldom makes a wise man in futuro. 

C. L, 

VOL. I. — 20 



306 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

v.— IN RE SQUIRRELS 

(1825) 
For the Every-Day Book 

What is gone with the Cages with the climbing Squirrel and bells 
to them, which were formerly the indispensable appendage to the 
outside of a Tinman's shop, and were in fact the only Live Signs ? 
One, we believe, still hangs out on Holborn; but they are fast 
vanishing with the good old modes of our ancestors. They seem to 
have been superseded by that still more ingenious refinement of 
modern humanity — the Tread-mill ; in which human Squirrels still 
perform a similar round of ceaseless, improgressive clambering; 
which must be nuts to them. 

We almost doubt the fact of the teeth of this creature being so 
purely orange-coloured, as Mr. Urban's correspondent gives out. 
One of our old poets — and they were pretty sharp observers of nature 
— describes them as brown. But perhaps the naturalist referred to 
meant "of the colour of the Maltese orange," ^ which is rather 
more obfuscated than your fruit of Seville, or Saint Michael's ; and 
may help to reconcile the difference. We cannot speak from 
observation, but we remember at school getting our fingers into 
the orangery of one of these little gentry (not having a due caution 
of the traps set there), and the result proved sourer than lemons. 
The Author of the Task somewhere speaks of their anger as being 
" insignificantly fierce," but we found the demonstration of it on this 
occasion quite as significant as we desired ; and have not been dis- 
posed since to look any of these "gift horses" in the mouth. 
Maiden aunts keep these " small deer " as they do parrots, to bite 
people's fingers, on purpose to give them good advice " not to 
venture so near the cage another time." As for their " six 
quavers divided into three quavers and a dotted crotchet," I 
suppose, they may go into Jeremy Bentham's next budget of 
Fallacies, along with the "melodious and proportionable kinde 
of musicke," recorded in your last number of another highly gifted 
animal [see page 305]. 



C. L. 



^ Fletcher in the " Faithful Shepherdess." — The Satyr offers to Clorin, 

— grapes whose lusty blood 
Is the learned Poet's good, 
Sweeter yet did never crown 
The head of Bacchus ; nuts more brown 
Than the squirrels' teeth that crack them. 



EVERY-DA Y BOOK AND TABLE BOOK 307 

VI.— AN APPEARANCE OF THE SEASON 
(1826) 

Apology will scarcely be required for introducing a character, 
who at this season of the year comes forth in renovated honours, 
andjmay aptly be termed one of its ever-blues — not a peculiar of 



THE BEADLE. 

" The great image of authority ! " — Shakespeare. 

either Farringdons, nor him of Cripplegate, or St. Giles in the 
Fields, or of any ward or precinct within the bills : not this or 
that " good man " — but the universal parish beadle. " How 
Christmas and consolatory he looks ! how redolent of good cheer is 
he ! He is a cornucopia — an abundance. What pudding sleeves ! 
— what a collar, red, and like a beef steak, is his ! He is a walking 
refreshment ! He looks like a whole parish, full, important — but 
untaxed. The children of charity gaze at him with a modest smile. 
The straggling boys look on him with confidence. They do not 
pocket their marbles. They do not fly from their familiar gutter. 
This is a red letter day ; and the cane is reserved for to-morrow." 
For the pleasant verbal description we are indebted to an agree- 



308 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

able writer in the " London Magazine ;"i his corporal lineaments are 
" borrowed " (with permission) from a new caricature,^ if it may be 
given so low a name, wherein this figure stands out, the very gem 
and jewel, in a grouping of characters of all sorts and denomina- 
tions" assembled with " infinite fancy " and " fun," to illustrate the 
designer's views of the age. It is a graphic satire of character 
rather than caricatura ; mostly of class-characters, not persons; 
wherein the ridicule bears heavily, but is broad and comprehensive 
enough to shift from one neighbour to another. 

VII.— THE MONTHS 

(1826) 

For the Every-Day Book 

Rummaging over the contents of an old stall at a half book, half 
old iron shop, in an alley leading from Wardour-street to Soho- 
square yesterday, I lit upon a ragged duodecimo, which had been the 
strange delight of my infancy, and which I had lost sight of for more 
than forty years : — the " Queen-like Closet, or Rich Cabinet : " 
written by Hannah Woolly, and printed for R. C. & T. S. 1681 ; 
being an abstract of receipts in cookery, confectionary, cosmetics, 
needlework, morality, and all such branches of what were then 
considered as female accomplishments. The price demanded was 
sixpence, which the owner (a little squab duodecimo of a character 
himself) enforced with the assurance that his " own mother should 
not have it for a farthing less." On my demurring at this extra- 
ordinary assertion, the dirty little vendor reinforced his assertion 
with a sort of oath, which seemed more than the occasion de- 
manded : " and now (said he) I have put my soul to it." Pressed 
by so solemn an asseveration, I could no longer resist a demand 
which seemed to set me, however unworthy, upon a level with his 
dearest relations ; and depositing a tester, I bore away the tattered 
prize in triumph. I remembered a gorgeous description of the twelve 
months of the year, which I thought would be a fine substitute for 
those poetical descriptions of them which your Every-Day Book 
had nearly exhausted out of Spenser. This will be a treat, thought 
I, for friend Hone. To memory they seemed no less fantastic and 
splendid than the other. But, what are the mistakes of childhood ! 
— on reviewing them, they turned out to be only a set of common- 
place receipts for working the seasons, months, heathen gods and 
goddesses, &c. in samplars ! Yet as an instance of the homely 
occupations of our great-grandmothers, they may be amusing to 
some readers : " I have seen," says the notable Hannah Woolly, 

' For Dec, 1822. 

^The Progress of Cant; designed and etched by one of the authors of "Odes 
and Addresses to Great People;" and pubUshed by T. Maclean, Haymarket, L. 
Relfe, Cornhill ; and Dickenson, New Bond-Street. 



E VERY-DA Y BOOK AND TABLE BOOK 309 

" such Ridiculous things done in work, as it is an abomination to 
any Artist to behold. As for Example : You may find in some 
Pieces, Abraham and Sarah, and many other Persons of Old time, 
Cloathed, as they go now a-daies, and truly sometimes worse ; for 
they most resemble the Pictures on Ballads. Let all Ingenious 
Women have regard, that when they work any Image, to represent 
it aright. First, let it be Drawn well, and then observe the 
Directions which are given by Knowing Men. I do assure you, I 
never durst work any Scripture-Story without informing my self 
from the Ground of it : nor any other Story, or single Person, 
without informing my self both of the Visage and Habit ; As 
followeth. 

" If you work Jupiter, the Imperial feigned god, He must have 
long Black-Curled-hair, a Purple Garment trimmed with Gold, and 
sitting upon a Golden Throne, with bright yellow Clouds about 
him." 

The Twelve Months of the Year 

March : 

Is drawn in Tawny, with a fierce aspect, a Helmet upon his head, 
and leaning on a Spade, and a Basket of Garden Seeds in his 
Left hand, and in his Right hand the Sign of Aries ; And Winged. 

April. 

A Young Man in Green, with a Garland of Mirtle, and 
Hawthorn-Buds ; Winged ; in one hand Primroses and Violets, 
in the other the Sign Taurus. 

May. 

With a sweet and lovely Countenance, clad in a Robe of White 
and Green, embroidered with several Flowers, upon his Head a 
garland of all manner of Roses ; on the one hand a Nightingale, in 
the other a Lute. His Sign must be Gemini. 

June. 

In a Mantle of dark Grass-green, upon his Head a garland of 
Bents, Kings-Cups, and Maiden-hair ; in his Left hand an Angle, 
with a box of Cantharides, in his Right, the Sign Cancer, and 
upon his arms a Basket of seasonable Fruits. 

July. 

In a Jacket of light Yellow, eating Cherries ; with his Face and 
Bosom Sun-burnt ; on his Head a wreath of Centaury and wild 
Tyme ; a Seith on his shoulder, and a Bottle at his girdle : 
carrying the Sign Leo. 



310 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

Augvst. 
A Young Man of fierce and Cholerick aspect, in a FJame- 
coloured Garment ; upon his Head a garland of Wheat and Rye, 
upon his Arm a Basket of all manner of ripe Fruits, at his Belt 
a Sickle. His Sign Virgo. 

September. 
A merry and cheerful Countenance, in a Purple Robe, upon his 
Head a Wreath of red and white Grapes, in his Left hand a hand- 
ful of Oats, withal carrying a Horn of Plenty, full of all manner of 
ripe- Fruits, in his Right hand the Sign Libra. 

October. 
In a Garment of Yellow and Carnation, upon his head a garland 
of Oak-leaves with Akorns, in his Right hand the Sign Scorpio, in 
his Left hand a Basket of Medlars, Services, and Chesnuts ; and 
any other Fruits then in Season. 

November. 
In a Garment of Changeable Green and Black upon his Head, 
a garland of Olives with the Fruit in his Left hand, Bunches of 
Parsnips and Turnips in his Right. His Sign Sagittarius. 

December. 
A horrid and fearful aspect, clad in Irish-Rags, or coarse Freez 
girt unto him, upon his Head three or four Night-Caps, and over 
them a Turkish Turbant ; his Nose red, his Mouth and Beard 
clog'd with Isicles, at his back a bundle of Holly, Ivy or Misletoe, 
holding in fur'd Mittens the Sign of Capricornus. 

January. 
Clad all in White, as the Earth looks with the Snow, blowing 
his Nails ; in his Left Arm a Billet, the Sign Aquarius standing by 
his side. 

February. 
Cloathed in a dark Skie-colour, carrying in his Right hand the 
Sign Pisces. 

The following receipt, " To dress up a Chimney very fine for 
the Summer time, as I have done many, and they have been 
liked very well," may not be unprofitable to the housewives of this 
century. 

" First, take a pack-thred, and fasten it even to the inner part 
of the Chimney, so high as that you can see no higher as you walk 
up and down the House ; you must drive in several Nails to hold 
up all your work ; then get good store of old green Moss from 



EVERY-DA Y BOOK AND TABLE BOOK 311 

Ti-ees, and melt an equal proportion of Bees-wax and Rosin to- 
gether, and while it is hot, dip the wrong ends of the Moss in it, 
and presently clap it upon your pack-thred, and press it down hard 
with your hand ; you must make hast, else it will cool before you 
can fasten it, and then it will fall down ; do so all round where the 
pack-thred goes, and the next row you must joyn to that so that 
it may seem all in one ; thus do till you have finished it down to 
the bottom : then take some other kind of Moss, of a whitish- 
colour and stiff, and of several sorts or kinds, and place that upon 
the other, here and there carelessly, and in some places put a good 
deal, and some a little ; then any kind of fine Snail-shells, in which 
the Snails are dead, and little Toad stools, which are very old, and 
look like Velvet, or any other thing that is old and pretty ; 
place it here and there as your fancy serves, and fasten all with 
Wax and Rosin. Then for the Hearth of your Chimney, you may 
lay some Orpan-Sprigs in order all over, and it will grow as it lies ; 
and according to the Season, get what flowers you can, and stick in 
as if they grew, and a few sprigs of Sweet-Bryer : the Flowers you 
must renev every Week ; but the Moss will last all the Summer, 
till it will be time to make a fire ; and the Orpan will last near two 
Months. A Chimney thus done doth grace a Room exceedingly." 
One phrase in the above should particularly recommend it to 
such of your female readers, as, in the nice language of the 
day, have done growing some time : " little toad stools, &c. and 
any thing that is old and pretty." Was ever antiquity so smoothed 
over.? The culinary recipes have nothing remarkable in them, 
besides the costliness of them. Every thing (to the meanest meats) 
is sopped in claret, steeped in claret, basted with claret, as if claret 
were as cheap as ditch water. I remember Bacon recommends 
opening a turf or two in your garden-walks, and pouring into each 
a bottle of claret, to recreate the sense of smelling, being no less 
grateful than beneficial. We hope the chancellor of the exchequer 
will attend to this in his next reduction of French wines, that we 
may once more water our gardens with right Bordeaux. The 
medical recipes are as whimsical as they are cruel. Our ancestors 
were not at all effeminate on this head. Modern sentimentalists 
would shrink at a cock plucked and bruised in a mortar alive, to 
make a cuUis ; or a live mole baked in an oven (be sure it he alive) 
to make a powder for consumption. — But the whimsicalest of all are 
the directions to servants — (for this little book is a compendium of 
all duties,) — the footman is seriously admonished not to stand 
lolling against his master's chair, while he waits at table ; for " to 
lean on a Chair when they wait, is a particular favour shown to any 
superior Servant, as the Chief Gentleman, or the Waiting Woman 
when she rises from the Table." Also he must not " hold the Plates 



312 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

before his mouth to be defiled with his Breath, nor touch them on 
the right (inner) side." Surely Swift must have seen this little 
treatise. 

C. L. 

Hannah concludes with the following address, by which the self- 
estimate which she formed of her usefulness, may be calculated : — 

Ladies, I hope you're pleas'd, and so shall I, 
If what I've Writ, you may be gainers by : 
If not ; it is your fault, it is not mine. 
Your benefit in this I do design. 
Much labour and much time it hath me cost 
Therefore I beg, let none of it be lost. 
The Mony you shall pay for this my Book, 
You'l not repent of, when in it you look. 
No more at present to you I shall say, 
But wish you all the happiness I may. 

H. W. 

VIIL— REMINISCENCE OF SIR JEFFERY DUNSTA.N 

(1826) 
To the Editor of the Every-Day Book 

To your account of sir JefFery Dunstan in columns 829-30 (where, 
by an unfortunate Erratum the effigies of two Sir Jeffsrys appear, 
when the uppermost figure is clearly meant for sir Harry Dimsdale) 
you may add, that the writer of this has frequently met him in his 
latter days, about 1790 or 1791, returning in an evening, after his 
long day's itinerancy, to his domicile — a wretched shed in the most 
beggarly purlieu of Bethnal Green, a little on this side the Mile- 
end Turnpike. The lower figure in that leaf [see page 517] most 
correctly describes his then appearance, except that no graphic art 
can convey an idea of the general squalor of it, and of his bag (his 
constant concomitant) in particular. Whether it contained " old 
wigs " at that time I know not, but it seemed a fittef repository for 
bones snatched out of kennels, than for any part of a Gentleman's 
dress even at second hand. 

The Ex-member for Garrat was a melancholy instance of a great 
man whose popularity is worn out. He still carried his sack, but it 
seemed a part of his identity rather than an implement of his pro- 
fession ; a badge of past grandeur ; could any thing have divested 
him of that, he would have shown a " poor forked animal " indeed. 
My life upon it, it contained no curls at the time 1 speak of. The 
most decayed and spiritless remnants of what wis once a peruke 
would have scorned the filthy case ; would absoliitely have " burst 
its cearments." No, it was empty, or brought tome bones, or a 
few cinders possibly. A strong odour of burnt bones, I remember, 



EVERYDAY BOOK AND TABLE BOOK 313 

blended with the scent of horse-flesh seething into dog's meat, and 
only relieved a little by the breathings of a few brick kilns, made 
up the atmosphere of the delicate suburban spot, which this great 
man had chosen for the last scene of his earthly vanities. The cry 
•of " old wigs " had ceased with the possession of any such fripperies ; 
his sack might have contained not unaptly a little mould to scatter 
upon that grave, to which he was now advancing ; but it told of 
vacancy and desolation. His quips were silent too, and his brain 
was empty as his sack ; he slank along, and seemed to decline 
popular observation. If a few boys followed him, it seemed rather 
from habit, than any expectation of fun. 

Alas ! how changed from him. 
The life of humour, and the soul of whim, 
Gallant and gay on Garrat's hustings proud. 

But it is thus that the world rewards its favourites in decay. 
What faults he had, I know not. I have heard something of a 
peccadillo or so. But some little deviation from the precise line of 
rectitude, might have been winked at in so tortuous and stigmatic 
a frame. Poor Sir JefFery ! it were well if some M.P.'s in earnest 
had passed their parliamentary existence with no more offences 
against integrity, than could be laid to thy charge ! A fair dis- 
missal was thy due, not so unkind a degradation ; some little snug 
retreat, with a bit of green before thine eyes, and not a burial alive 
in the fetid beggaries of Bethnal. Thou wouldst have ended thy 
days in a manner more appropriate to thy pristine dignity, installed 
in munificent mockery (as in mock honours you had lived) — a Poor 
Knight of Windsor ! 

Every distinct place of public speaking demands an oratory 
peculiar to itself. The forensic fails within the walls of St. Stephen. 
Sir JefFery was a living instance of this, for in the flower of his 
popularity an attempt was made to bring him out upon the stage 
(at which of the winter theatres I forget, but I well remember the 
anecdote) in the part of Doctor Last. The announcement drew a 
crowded house ; but notwithstanding infinite tutoring — by Foote, 
or Garrick, I forget which — when the curtain drew up, the heart 
of Sir JefFery failed, and he faultered on, and made nothing of his 
part, till the hisses of the house at last in very kindness dismissed 
him from the boards. Great as his parliamentary eloquence had 
shown itself; brilliantly as his oiF-hand sallies had sparkled on a 
hustings ; they here totally failed him. Perhaps he had an aversion 
to borrowed wit; and, like my Lord Foppington, disdained to 
entertain himself (or others) with the forced products of another 
man's brain. Your man of quality is more diverted with the 
natural sprouts of his own. 

C. L. 



314 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 



IX.— MRS. GILPIN RIDING TO EDMONTON 

(1827) 

Then Mrs. Gilpin sweetly said 

Unto her children three, 
" I'll clamber o'er this style so high, 

And you climb after me." 

But having climb'd unto the top. 

She could no further go, 
But sate, to every passer by 

A spectacle and show. 

Who said " Your spouse and you this day 

Both show your horsemanship. 
And if you stay till he comes back. 

Your horse will need no whip." 




The sketch, here engraved, (probably from the poet's friend 
Romney,) was found with the above three stanzas in the hand- 
writing of Cowper, among the papers of the late Mrs. Unwin. It 
is to be regretted that no more was found of this little Episode, 
as it evidently was intended to be, to the " Diverting History of 
Johnny Gilpin." It is to be supposed that Mrs. Gilpin, in the 
interval between dinner and tea, finding the time to hang upon 



EVERYDAY BOOK AND TABLE BOOK 315 

her hands, dui'ing her husband's involuntary excursion, rambled 
out with the children into the fields at the back of the Bell, (as 
what could be more natural ?) and at one of those high aukward 
styles, for which Edmonton is so proverbially famed, the embarrass- 
ment represented, so mortifying to a substantial City Madam, might 
have happened ; a predicament, which leaves her in a state, which 
is the very Antipodes to that of her too loco-motive husband ; in 
fact she rides a restive horse. — Now I talk of Edmonton styles, I 
must speak a little about those of Enfield, its next neighbour, 
which are so ingeniously contrived — every rising bar to the top 
becoming more protuberant than the one under it — that it is 
impossible for any Christian climber to get over, without bruising 
his (or her) shins as many times as there are bars. These in- 
hospitable invitations to a flayed skin, are planted so thickly too, 
and are so troublesomely importunate at every little paddock here, 
that this, with more propriety than Thebes of old, might be 
entitled Hecatompolis : the Town of the Hundred Gates, or 
styles. 

A Sojourner at Enfield. 
July 16, 1827. 



X.— THE DEFEAT OF TIME; 

OB, A Tale op the Fairies 

(1827) 

Titania, and her moonlight Elves, were assembled under the 
canopy of a huge oak, that served to shelter them from the moon's 
radiance, which, being now at her full noon, shot forth intolerable 
rays — intolerable, I mean, to the subtil texture of their little 
shadowy bodies — but dispensing an agreeable coolness to us grosser 
mortals. An air of discomfort sate upon the Queen, and upon her 
Courtiers. Their tiny friskings and gambols were forgot ; and even 
Robin Goodfellow, for the first time in his little airy life, looked 
grave. For the Queen had had melancholy forebodings of late, 
founded upon an ancient Prophecy, laid up in the records of Fairy 
Land, that the date of Fairy existence should be then extinct, 
when men should cease to believe in them. And she knew how 
that the race of the Nymphs, which were her predecessors, and had 
been the Guardians of the sacred floods, and of the silver fountains, 
and of the consecrated hills and woods, had utterly disappeared 
before the chilling touch of man's incredulity ; and she sighed 
bitterly at the approaching fate of herself and of her subjects, 
which was dependent upon so fickle a lease, as the capricious and 
ever mutable faith of man. When, as if to realise her fears, a 



316 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

melancholy shape came gliding in, and that was — Time, who with 
his intolerable scythe mows down Kings and Kingdoms; at whose 
dread approach the Fays huddled together, as a flock of timorous 
sheep, and the most courageous among them crept into acorn cups, 
not enduring the sight of that ancientest of Monarchs. Titania's 
first impulse was to wish the presence of her false Lord, Kmg 
Oberon, who was far away, in the pursuit of a strange Beauty, a 
Fay of Indian Land — that with his good lance and sword, like a 
faithful knight and husband, he might defend her against Time. 
But she soon checked that thought as vain, for what could the 
prowess of the mighty Oberon himself, albeit the stoutest Cham- 
pion in Fairy Land, have availed against so huge a Giant, whose 
bald top touched the skies. So in the mildest tone she besought 
the Spectre, that in his mercy he would overlook, and pass by, her 
small subjects, as too diminutive and powerless to add any worthy 
trophy to his renown. As she besought him to employ his resist- 
less strength against the ambitious Children of Men, and to lay 
waste their aspiring works, to tumble down their towers and 
turrets, and the Babels of their pride, fit objects of his devouring 
Scythe, but to spare her and her harmless race, who had no ex- 
istence beyond a dream; frail objects of a creed; that lived but in 
the faith of the believer. And with her little arms, as well as she 
could, she grasped the stern knees of Time, and waxing speechless 
with fear, she beckoned to her chief attendants, and Maids of 
Honour, to come forth from their hiding places, and to plead the 
Plea of the Fairies. And one of those small delicate creatures 
came forth at her bidding, clad all in white like a Chorister, and 
in a low melodious tone, not louder than the hum of a pretty bee 
— -when it seems to be demurring whether it shall settle upon this 
sweet flower or that, before it settles — -set forth her humble Peti- 
tion. " We Fairies," she said, " are the most inoff^ensive race that 
live, and least deserving to perish. It is we that have the care of 
all sweet melodies, that no discords may offend the Sun, who is the 
great Soul of Music. We rouse the lark at morn ; and the pretty 
Echos, which respond to all the twittering quire, are of our making. 
Wherefore, great King of Years, as ever you have loved the music 
which is raining from a morning cloud, sent from the messenger of 
day, the Lark, as he mounts to Heaven's gate, beyond the ken of 
mortals; or if ever you have listened with a charmed ear to the 
Night Bird, that 

in the flowery spring, 
Amidst the leaves set, makes the thickets ring 
Of her sour sorrows, sweeten'd with her song : 

spare our tender tribes; and we will muffle up the sheep-bell for 



EVERY-DAY BOOK AND TABLE BOOK 317 

thee, that thy pleasure take no interruption, whenever thou shalt 
listen unto Philomel." 

And Time answered, that " he had heard that song too long ; 
and he was even wearied with that ancient strain, that recorded 
the wrongs of Tereus. But if she would know in what music Time 
delighted, it was, when sleep and darkness lay upon crowded cities, 
to hark to the midnight chime, which is tolling from a hundred 
clocks, like the last knell over the soul of a dead world ; or to the 
crush of the fall of some age-worn edifice, which is as the voice of 
himself when he disparteth kingdoms." 

A second female I^y took up the Plea, and said, "We be the 
handmaids of the Spring, and tend upon the birth of all sweet 
buds ; and the pastoral cowslips are our friends, and the pansies ; 
and the violets, like nuns ; and the quaking hare-bell is in our 
wardship ; and the Hvacinth, once a fair youth, and dear to 
Phoebus." 

Then Time made answer, in his wrath striking the harmless 
ground with his hurtful scythe, that "they must not think that 
he was one that cared for flowers, except to see them wither, and 
to take her beauty from the rose." 

And a third Fairy took up the Plea, and said, " We are kindly 
Things ; and it is we that sit at evening, and shake rich odours 
from sweet bowers upon discoursing lovers, that seem to each other 
to be their own sighs ; and we keep off the bat, and the owl, from 
their privacy, and the ill-boding whistler; and we flit in sweet 
dreams across the brains of infancy, and conjure up a smile upon 
its soft lips to beguile the careful mother, while its little soul is 
fled for a brief minute or two to sport with our youngest Fairies." 

Then Satukn (which is Time) made answer, that " they should 
not think that he delighted in tender Babes, that had devoured 
his own, till foolish Rhea cheated him with a Stone, which he 
swallowed, thinking it to be the infant Jupiter." And thereat in 
token he disclosed to view his enormous tooth, in which appeared 
monstrous dints, left by that unnatural meal ; and his great throat, 
that seemed capable of devouring up the earth and all its in- 
habitants at one meal. "And for Lovers," he continued, "my 
delight is, with a hurrying hand to snatch them away from their 
love-meetings by stealth at nights, and to ravish away hours from 
them like minutes whilst they are together, and in absence to stand 
like a motionless statue, or their leaden Planet of mishap (whence 
I had my name), till I make their minutes seem ages." 

Next stood up a male fairy, clad all in green, like a forester, or 
one of Robin Hood's mates, and doffing his tiny cap, said, " We 
are small foresters, that live in woods, training the young boughs 
in graceful intricacies, with blue snatches of the sky between ; we 



318 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

frame all shady roofs and arches rude; and sometimes, when we 
are plying our tender hatches, men say, that the tapping wood- 
pecker is nigh : and it is we that scoop the hollow cell of the 
squirrel ; and carve quaint letters upon the rinds of trees, which in 
sylvan solitudes sweetly recall to the mind of the heat-oppressed 
swain, ere he lies down to slumber, the name of his Fair One, 
Dainty Aminta, Gentle Rosalind, or Chastest Laura, as it may 
happen." 

Saturn, nothing moved with this courteous address, bade him be 
gone, or " if he would be a woodman, to go forth, and fell oak for 
the Fairies' coffins, which would forthwith be wanting. For himself, 
he took no delight in haunting the woods, till their golden plumage 
(the yellow leaves) were beginning to fall, and leave the brown Tslack 
limbs bare, like Nature in her skeleton dress." 

Then stood up one of those gentle Fairies, that are good to Man, 
and blushed red as any rose, while he told a modest story of one of 
his own good deeds. "It chanced upon a time," he said, "that 
while we were looking cowslips in the meads, while yet the dew was 
hanging on the buds, like beads, we found a babe left in its swath- 
ing clothes — a little sorrowful deserted Thing ; begot of Love, but 
begetting no love in others ; guiltless of shame, but doomed to 
shame for its parents' offence in bringing it by indirect courses 
into the world. It was pity to see the abandoned little orphan, 
left to the world's care by an unnatural mother, how the cold 
dew kept wetting its childish coats ; and its little hair, how it was 
bedabbled, that was like gossamer. Its pouting mouth, unknowing 
how to speak, lay half opened like a rose-lipt shell, and its cheek 
was softer than any peach, upon which the tears, for very round- 
ness, could not long dwell, but fell off, in clearness like pearls, some 
on the grass, and some on his little hand, and some haply wandered 
to the little dimpled well under his mouth, which Love himself 
seemed to have planned out, but less for tears than for smilings. 
Pity it was, too, to see how the burning sun scorched its helpless 
limbs, for it lay without shade, or shelter, or mother's breast, for 
foul weather or fair. So having compassion on its sad plight, my 
fellows and I turned ourselves into grasshoppers, and swarmed 
about the babe, making such shrill cries, as that pretty little 
chirping creature makes in its mirth, till with our noise we 
attracted the attention of a passing rustic, a tender-hearted hind, 
who wondering at our small but loud concert, strayed aside curi- 
ously, and found the babe, where it lay on the remote grass, and 
taking it up, lapt it in his russet coat, and bore it to his cottage, 
where his wife kindly nurtured it, till it grew up a goodly person- 
age. How this Babe prospered afterwards, let proud London tell. 
This was that famous Sir Thomas Gresham, who was the chiefest 



EVERYDAY BOOK AND TABLE BOOK 319 

of her Merchants, the richest, the wisest. Witness his many goodly 
vessels on the Thames, freighted with costly merchandise, jewels 
from Ind, and pearls for courtly dames, and silks of Samarcand. 
And witness more than all, that stately Bourse (or Exchange) 
which he caused to be built, a mart for merchants from East and 
West, whose graceful summit still bears, in token of the Fairies' 
favours, his chosen crest, the Grasshopper. And, like the Grass- 
hopper, may it please you, great King, to suffer us also to live, 
partakers of the green earth ! " 

The Fairy had scarce ended his Plea, when a shrill cry, not unlike 
the Grasshopper's, was heard. Poor Puck — or Robin Goodfellow, 
as he is sometimes called — had recovered a little from his first 
fright, and in one of his mad freaks had perched upon the beard 
of old Time, which was flowing, ample, and majestic, and was 
amusing himself with plucking at a hair, which was indeed so 
massy, that it seemed to him that he was removing some huge 
beam of timber rather than a hair ; which Time by some ill chance 
perceiving, snatched up the Impish Mischief with his great hand, 
and asked " What it was ? " 

" Alas ! " quoth Puck, " A little random Elf am I, born in one of 
Nature's sports, a very weed, created for the simple sweet enjoyment 
of myself, but for no other purpose, worth, or need, that ever I 
could learn. 'Tis I, that bob the Angler's idle cork, till the patient 
man is ready to breathe a curse. I steal the morsel from the 
Gossip's fork, or stop the sneezing Chanter in mid Psalm ; and 
when an infant has been born with hard or homely features, 
mothers say, that I changed the child at nurse ; but to fulfil any 
graver purpose I have not wit enough, and hardly the will. I am a 
pinch of lively dust to frisk upon the wind, a tear would make a 
puddle of me, and so I tickle myself with the lightest straw, 
and shun all griefs that might make me stagnant. This is my 
small philosophy." 

Then Time, dropping him on the ground, as a thing too incon- 
siderable for his vengeance, grasped fast his mighty Scythe ; and 
now not Puck alone, but the whole State of Fairies had gone to 
inevitable wreck and destruction, had not a timely Apparition 
interposed, at whose boldness Time was astounded, for he came 
not with the habit, or the forces, of a Deity, who alone might 
■cope with Time, but as a simple Mortal, clad as you might see a 
Forester, that hunts after wild coneys by the cold moonshine ; or a 
Stalker of stray deer, stealthy and bold. But by the golden lustre 
in his eye, and the passionate wanness in his cheek, and by the fair 
and ample space of his forehood [forehead], which seemed a palace 
framed for the habitation of all glorious thoughts, he knew that this 
■was his great Rival, who had power given him to rescue whatsoever 



320 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

victims Time should clutch, and to cause them to live for ever in 
his immortal verse. And muttering the name of Shakspeare, Time 
spread his Roc-like wings, and fled the controuling presence. And 
the liberated Court of the Fairies, with Titania at their head, 
flocked around the gentle Ghost, giving him thanks, nodding to 
him, and doing him curtesies, who had crowned them henceforth 
with a permanent existence, to live in the minds of men, while 
verse shall have power to charm, or Midsummer moons shall 
brighten. 

* * * 

What particular endearments passed between the Fairies and 
their Poet, passes my pencil to delineate ; but if you are curious 
to be informed, I must refer you, gentle reader, to the " Plea of 
the [Midsummer] Fairies," a most agreeable Poem, lately put forth 
by my friend, Thomas Hood : of the first half of which the above is 
nothing but a meagre, and a harsh, prose-abstract. Farewell. 

Elia. 

The words of Mercury are harsh after the songs of Apollo. 



AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 

(1827) 

CHARLES LAMB born in the Inner Temple 10 Feb. 1775 
educated in Christ's Hospital afterwards a clerk in the 
Accountants office East India House pensioned off^ from that 
service 1825 after 33 years service, is now a Gentleman at large, 
can remember few specialities in his life worth noting except 
that he once caught a swallow flying (teste swd manu); 
below the middle stature, cast of face slightly Jewish, with no 
Judaic tinge in his complexional religion; stammers abominably 
and is therefore more apt to discharge his occasional conversation 
in a quaint aphorism or a poor quibble than in set and edifying 
speeches ; has consequently been libelled as a person always aiming 
at wit, which, as he told a dull fellow that charged him with it, 
is at least as good as aiming at dulness ; a small eater but not 
drinker; confesses a partiality for the production of the juniper 
berry, was a fierce smoker of Tobacco, but may be resembled to a 
volcano burnt out, emitting only now and then a casual puff". Has 



SHAKSPEAEFS IMPEOVERS 321 

been guilty of obtruding upon the Public a Tale in Prose, called 
Rosamund Gray, a Dramatic Sketch named John Woodvil, a 
Farewell Ode to Tobacco, with sundry other Poems and light 
prose matter, collected in Two slight crown Octavos and pompously 
christened his Works, tho' in fact they were his Recreations 
and his true works may be found on the shelves of Leadenhall 
Street, filling some hundred Folios. He is also the true Elia whose 
Essays are extant in a little volume published a year or two since ; 
and rather better known from that name without a meaning, than 
from anything he has done or can hope to do in his own. He 
also was the first to draw the Public attention to the old English 
Dramatists in a work called "Specimens of English Dramatic 
Writers who lived about the time of Shakspeare," published about 
15 years since. In short all his merits and demerits to set 
forth would take to the end of Mr. Upcott's book and then not 
be told truly. He died ^ 

18 much lamented. 

Witness his hand, Charles Lamb. 
10th Apr 1827. 

^ To any Body — Please to fill up these blanks. 



SHAKSPEARE'S IMPROVERS 

(1828) 

To the Editor of The Spectator 

SIR, — Partaking in your indignation at the sickly stuff inter- 
polated by Tate in the genuine play of King Lear, I beg to 
lay before you certain kindred enormities that you may be less 
aware of, which that co-dilutor of Sternhold and Hopkins,^ with 
his compeers, were suffered — nay, encouraged — by an English 
public of a century and a half ago, to perpetrate upon the dramas 
of Shakspeare. I speak from imperfect recollection of one of these 
new versions which I have seen, namely, Goriolanus — by the same 
hand which touched up King Lear; in which he, the said Nahum, not 
deeming his author's catastrophe enough striking, makes Aujidius (if 
my memory fail me not) violate the person of the wife, and mangle the 

^ New Version of the Singing Psalms, by Nahum Tate, and Nicholas Brady. 
VOL. I. — 21 



322 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

body of the little son, of his Roman rival ! Shadwel], another im- 
prover, in his version of Timon of Athens, a copy of which (167|^) 
is lying before me, omits the character of Flavius, the kind-hearted 
Steward — that fine exception to the air of general perfidy in the 
play, which would else be too oppressive to reader or spectator; 
and substitutes for it a kind female, who is supposed to be 
attached to Timon to the last: thus making the moral of the 
piece to consist in showing — not the hollowness of friendships con- 
ciliated by a mere undistinguishing prodigality, but — the superiority 
of woman's love to the friendships of men. Evandra too has a 
rival in the affections of the noble Athenian. So impossible did 
these blockheads imagine it to be, to interest the feelings of an 
audience without an intrigue, that the misanthrope Timon must 
whine, and the daughterly Cordelia must whimper, their love 
affections, before they could hope to touch the gentle hearts in the 
boxes ! Had one of these gentry taken in hand to improve the fine 
Scriptural story of Joseph and his Brethren, we should have had a 
love passion introduced, to make the mere fraternal interest of the 
piece go down — an episode of the amours of Reuben, or Issachar, 
■with the fair Mizraim of Egypt. — Thus Evandra closes the eyes of 
Shadwell's dying Tirnon ; who, it seems, has poisoned himself. 

Evan. Oh my dear Lord ! why do you stoop and bend 
Like flowers o'ercharged with dew, whose yielding stalks 
Cannot support them ? 

Timon. So now my weary pilgrimage on earth 
Is almost finish'd ! Now, my best Evandra, 
I charge thee by our loves, our mutual loves, 
Live, and live happy after me ; and if 
A thought of Timon comes into thy mind. 
And brings a tear from thee — 

(What then ? why then) 

— let some diversion 
Banish it. — 

And so, after some more drivel of the same stamp, the noble Timon 
dies. And was not this a dainty dish to set before an audience of 
the Duke's Theatre in the year 167| ? Yet Betterton then acted 
Timon, and his wife Evandra. 

I now come to the London acting edition of Macbeth of the 
same date, 1678 (played, if I remember, by the same players, at the 
same house) ; from which 1 made a few rough extracts, when I 
visited the British Museum for the sake of selecting from the 
" Garrick Plays." As I can scarcely expect to be believed upon 
my own word, as to what our ancestors at that time were willing 
to accept for Shakspeare, I refer the reader to that collection to 
verify my report. Who the improver was in this instance, we are 
left to guess, for the title-page leaves us to conjecture. Possibly 



SHAKSPEARE'S IMPROVEES 323 

the players, each one separately, contributed his new reading, which 
was silently adopted. Flesh and blood could not at this time of 
day submit to a thorough perusal of the thing ; but, from a glance 
or two of casual inspection, I am enabled to lay before the reader a 
few flowers. In one of the lyric parts, Hecate is made to say — 

-on a corner of the moon 



A drop my spectacles have found. 
I'll catch it. 

Hecate, the solemn president of classic enchantments, thence 
adopted into the romantic — the tri-form Hecate — wearing spec- 
tacles to assist old sight ! — (No. 4 or No. 5, as the opticians class 
them, is not said) — one may as well fancy Cerberus in a bran new 
collar, or the "dreaded name of Demogorgon" in jack-boots. 
Among the " ingredients of the caldron," is enumerated, not a 
tiger's, but — what reader ? — 

a Dutchman's chawdron ! 



We were about that time engaged in a war with Holland. — Again, 
Macduff being about to journey across the heath — the "blasted 
heath " — answers his lady, who courteously demands of him, " Are 
you a-foot ? " — 

Knowing the way to be both short and easy, 
And that the chariot did attend me here, 
I have adventured 

From which we may infer, that the Thane of Fife lived as a noble- 
man ought to do, and — kept a carriage. Again, the same noble- 
man, on the morning after Duncan's murder, says : — " Rising this 
morning early, I went to look out of my window. I could scarce 
see further than my breath." And indeed the original author 
informs us, that it had been a "rough night;" so that the im- 
prover does not wander far from his text. The exquisite familiarity 
of this prose patch was doubtlessly intended by the improver to 
break the tiresome monotony of Shakspeare's blank verse. In 
conclusion. Lady Macbeth is brought in repentant, and counselling 
her husband to give up the crown for conscience sake ! — Item,, she 
sees a ghost, which is all the time invisible to him. Such was the 
Macbeth which Betterton acted, and a contemporary audience took 
on trust for Shakspeare's. 

C. L. 



324 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

SATURDAY NIGHT 

(1829) 

THERE is a Saturday Night — I speak not to the admirers of 
Burns — erotically or theologically considered ; his of the 
" Cotter's " may be a very charming picture, granting it to be but 
half true. Nor speak I now of the Saturday Night at Sea, which 
Dibdin hath dressed up with a gusto more poignant to""the mere 
nautical palate of un-Calvanized South Britons. Nor that it is 
marketing night with the pretty tripping Servant-maids all over 
London, who, with judici^^us and economic eye, select the white 
and well-blown fillet, that the blue-aproned contunder of the calf 
can safely recommend as "prime veal," and which they are to be 
sure not to over-brown on the morrow. Nor speak I of the hard- 
handed Artisan, who on this night receives the pittance which is 
to furnish the neat Sabbatical dinner — not always reserved with 
Judaical rigor for that laudable purpose, but broken in upon, 
perchance, by inviting pot of ale, satisfactory to the present orifice. 
These are alleviatory, care-consoling. But the Hebdomadal Finale 
which I contemplate hath neither comfort nor alleviation in it ; I 
pronounce it, from memory, altogether punitive, and to be abhorred. 
It is — Saturday Night to the School-boy ! 

Cleanliness, saith some sage man, is next to Godliness. It may 
be ; but how it came to sit so very near, is the marvel. Methinks 
some of the more human virtues might have put in for a place 
before it. Justice — Humanity — Temperance — are positive quali- 
ties ; the courtesies and little civil offices of life, had I been Master 
of the Ceremonies to that Court, should have sate above the salt in 
preference to a mere negation. I confess there is something won- 
derfully refreshing, in warm countries, in the act of ablution. 
Those Mahometan washings — how cool to the imagination ! but 
in all these superstitions, the action itself, if not the duty, is 
voluntary. But to be washed perforce ; to have a detestable 
flannel rag soaked in hot water, and redolent of the very coarsest 
coarse soap, ingrained with hard beads for torment, thrust into your 
mouth, eyes, nostrils— positively Burking you, under pretence of 
cleansing — substituting soap for dirt, the worst dirt of the two — 
making your poor red eyes smart all night, that they might look 
out brighter on the Sabbath morn, for their cleai-ness was the effect 
of pain more than cleanliness. — Could this be true rehgion ? 

The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. I am always dis- 
posed to add, so are those of Grandmothers. Mine — the Print 
has made her look rather too young — had never-failing pretexts of 



DE FOE'S SECONDARY NOVELS 325 

tormenting children for their good. I was a chit then ; and I well 
remember when a fly had got into a corner of my eye, and I was 
complaining of it to her, the old Lady deliberately pounded two 
ounces or more of the finest loaf sugar that could be got, and 
making me hold open the eye as wide as I could — all innocent of 
her purpose — she blew from delicate white paper, with a full breath, 
the whole saccharine contents into the part afflicted, saying, " There, 
now the fly is out." 'Twas most true — a legion of blue-bottles, 
with the prince of flies at their head, must have dislodged with 
the torrent and deluge of tears which followed. I kept my own 
counsel, and my fly in my eye when I had got one, in future, 
without troubling her dulcet applications for the remedy. Then 
her medicine-case was a perfect magazine of tortures for infants. 
She seemed to have no notion of the comparatively tender drenches 
which young internals require — her potions were any thing but 
milk for babes. Then her sewing up of a cut finger — pricking a 
whitloe before it was ripe, because she could not see well, — with 
the aggravation of the pitying tone she did it in. 

But of all her nostrums — rest her soul — nothing came up to the 
Saturday Night's flannel — that rude fragment of a Witney blanket 
— Wales spins none so coarse — thrust into the corners of a weak 
child's eye with soap that might have absterged an Ethiop, whitened 
the hands of Duncan's She-murderer, and scowered away Original 
Sin itself. A faint image of my penance you see in the Print — but 
the Artist has sunk the flannel — the Age, I suppose, is too nice to 
bear it : and he has faintly shadowed the expostulatory suspension 
of the razor-strap in the hand of my Grandfather, when my pains 
and clamours had waxed intolerable. Peace to the Shades of 
them both ! and if their well-meaning souls had need of cleansing 
when they quitted earth, may the process of it have been milder 
than that of my old Purgatorial Saturday Night's path to the 
Sabbatical rest of the morrow ! 

Nepos. 



ESTIMATE OF DE FOE'S SECONDARY NOVELS 

(1829) 

IT has happened not seldom that one work of some author has 
so transcendantly surpassed in execution the rest of his com- 
positions, that the world has agreed to pass a sentence of dismissal 



326 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

upon the latter, and to consign them to total neglect and oblivion. 
It has done wisely in this, not to suffer the contemplation of 
excellencies of a lower standard to abate, or stand in the way of 
the pleasure it has agreed to receive from the master-piece. 

Again it has happened, that from no inferior merit of execution 
in the rest, but from superior good fortune in the choice of its 
subject, some single work shall have been suffered to eclipse, and 
cast into shade the deserts of its less fortunate brethren. This has 
been done with more or less injustice in the case of the popular 
allegory of Bunyan, in which the beautiful and scriptural image of 
a pilgrim or wayfarer (we are all such upon earth), addressing itself 
intelligibly and feelingly to the bosoms of all, has silenced, and 
made almost to be forgotten, the more awful and scarcely less 
tender beauties of the " Holy War made by Shaddai upon 
Diabolus," of the same author ; a romance less happy in its sub- 
ject, but surely well worthy of a secondary immortality. But in 
no instance has this excluding partiality been exerted with more 
unfairness than against what may be termed the secondary novels 
or romances of De Foe. 

While all ages and descriptions of people hang delighted over 
the " Adventures of Robinson Crusoe," and shall continue to do 
so we trust while the world lasts, how few comparatively will bear 
to be told, that there exist other fictitious narratives by the same 
writer — four of them at least of no inferior interest, except what 
results from a less felicitous choice of situation. Roxana — Singleton 
— Moll Flanders — Colonel Jack — are all genuine offspring of the 
same father. They bear the veritable impress of De Foe. An un- 
practised midwife that would not swear to the nose, lip, forehead, 
and eye, of every one of them ! They are in their way as full of 
incident, and some of them every bit as romantic ; only they want 
the uninhabited Island, and the charm that has bewitched the 
world, of the striking solitary situation. 

But are there no solitudes out of the cave and the desert ? or 
cannot the heart in the midst of crowds feel frightfully alone .? 
Singleton, on the world of waters, prowling about with pirates less 
merciful than the creatures of any howling wilderness ; is he not 
alone, with the faces of men about him, but without a guide that 
can conduct him through the mists of educational and habitual 
ignorance ; or a fellow-heart that can interpret to him the new- 
born yearnings and aspirations of unpractised penitence ? Or when 
the boy Colonel Jack, in the loneliness of the heart (the worst 
solitude), goes to hide his ill-purchased treasure in the hollow tree 
by night, and miraculously loses, and miraculously finds it again — 
whom hath he there to sympathise with him ? or of what sort are 
his associates .? 



DE FOE'S SECONDARY NOVELS 327 

The narrative manner of De Foe has a naturalness about it, 
beyond that of any other novel or romance writer. His fictions 
have all the air of true stories. It is impossible to believe, while 
you are reading them, that a real person is not narrating to you 
every where nothing but what really happened to himself. To 
this, the extreme homeliness of their style mainly contributes. 
We use the word in its best and heartiest sense — that which comes 
home to the reader. The narrators everywhere are chosen from 
low life, or have had their origin in it ; therefore they tell their 
own tales, (Mr. Coleridge has anticipated us in this remark,) as 
persons in their degree are observed to do, with infinite repetition, 
and an overacted exactness, lest the hearer should not have minded, 
or have forgotten, some things that had been told before. Hence 
the emphatic sentences marked in the good old (but deserted) Italic 
type ; and hence, too, the frequent interposition of the reminding 
old colloquial parenthesis, " I say " — " mind " — and the like, when 
the story-teller repeats what, to a practised reader, might appear 
to have been sufficiently insisted upon before : which made an 
ingenious critic observe, that his works, in this kind, were excellent 
reading for the kitchen. And, in truth, the heroes and heroines 
of De Foe, can never again hope to be popular with a much 
higher class of readers, than that of the servant-maid or the sailor. 
Crusoe keeps its rank only by tough prescription ; Singleton, the 
pirate — Colonel Jack, the thief — ^Moll Flanders, both thief and 
harlot — Roxana, harlot and something worse — would be startling 
ingredients in the bill of fare of modem literary delicacies. But, 
then, what pirates, what thieves, and what harlots is the thief, the 
harlot, and the pirate of De Foe ? We would not hesitate to say, 
that in no other book of fiction, where the lives of such characters 
are described, is guilt and delinquency made less seductive, or the 
suffering made more closely to follow the commission, or the 
penitence more earnest or more bleeding, or the intervening flashes 
of religious visitation, upon the rude and uninstructed soul, more 
meltingly and fearfully painted. They, in this, come near to the 
tenderness of Bunyan ; while the livelier pictures and incidents in 
them, as in Hogarth or in Fielding, tend to diminish that " fas- 
tidiousness to the concerns and pursuits of common life, which an 
unrestrained passion for the ideal and the sentimental is in danger 
of producing." 



328 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

CLARENCE SONGS 

(1830) 
To the Editor of The Spectator 

SIR, — You have a question in your paper, what songs, and 
whether any of any value, were written upon Prince William, 
our present Sovereign. Can it have escaped you, that the very 
popular song and tune of " Sweet lass of Richmond Hill " had 
reference to a supposed partiality of that Prince for a lass of 
Richmond ? I have heard who she was, but now forget. I think 
it was a damsel of quality. I remember, when I was a schoolboy 
at Christ's Hospital, about eight-and-forty years since, having had 
my hearing stunned with the burthen (which alone I retain) of 
some ballad in praise and augury of the Princely Midshipman : — 

" He's royal, he's noble, he's chosen by me,^ 
Britain's Isle to protect, and reign Lord of the Sea ! " 

and my old ears yet ring with it. 

Allusions to the same personage were at that time rife in in- 
numerable ballads, under the notion of a sweet William ; but the 
ballads are obliterated. The song of "Sweet William Taylor, 
walking with his lady gay" — from the identity of names, I suppose 
— usually followed the Neptunian song. The late Tom Sheridan 
bears away the credit of this. But was it possible he could have 
been the author of it in 1782 or 1783 ? Perhaps he made it his 
own by communicating a deeper tinge of vulgarity to it, exchanging 
" William " for " Billy." I think the rogue snugged it in as his 
own, hoping it was a forgotten ditty. 

C. L. 

CLARENCE SONGS.— No. II 

Sir, — A friend has just reminded me of a ballad made on occa- 
sion of some shipboard scrape into which our Royal Midshipman 
had fallen ; in which, with a romantic licence, the rank of the 
young sailor is supposed to have been unknown, and a corporal 
infliction about to have been put into execution. This is all he 
can recover of it. He was 

" order 'd to undress, Sir ! 

But very soon they did espy 

The star upon his breast. Sir : 
And on their knees they soon did fall. 
And all for mercy soon did call." 

' It is Neptune who predicts this. 



A TEUE STORY 329 

The burden was " Long live Duke William," or something to that 
effect. So you see, his Majesty has enjoyed his laureats by antici- 
pation. 

C. L. 

I know the town swarmed with these Clarence songs in the hey- 
day of his young popularity. Where are they ? 



A TRUE STORY 

(?1830) 

WHEN I was a young boy, I had delicate health, and was 
somewhat of a pensive and contemplative turn of mind : 
it was my delight, in the long summer evenings, to slip away from 
my noisy and more robust companions, that I might walk in the 
shade of a venerable wood, my favourite haunt, and listen to the 
cawing of the old rooks, who seemed as fond of this retreat as I 
was. 

One evening I sat later than usual, though the distant sound of 
the cathedral clock had more than once warned me to my home. 
There was a stillness in all nature that I was unwilling: to disturb 
by the least motion. From this reverie I was suddenly startled by 
the sight of a tall slender female, who was standing by me, looking 
sorrowfully and steadily in my face. She was dressed in white, 
from head to foot, in a fashion that I had never seen before ; her 
garments were unusually long and flowing, and rustled as she glided 
through the low shrubs near me, as if they were made of the richest 
silk. My heart beat as if I was dying, and I knew not that I could 
have stirred from the spot : but she seemed so very mild and 
beautiful I did not attempt it. Her pale brown hair was braided 
round her head, but there were some locks that strayed upon her 
neck ; and, altogether, she looked like a lovely picture, but not like 
a lovely woman. I closed my eyes forcibly with my hands, and 
when I looked again she had vanished. 

I cannot exactly say why I did not on my return speak of this 
beautiful appearance : nor why, with a strange mixture of hope 
and fear, I went again and again to the same spot, that I might 
see her. She always came ; and often in the storm and plashing 
rain, that never seemed to touch or to annoy her, and looked 
sweetly on me, and silently passed on : and though she was so 



330 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

near to me, that once the wind lifted those light straying locks,, 
and I felt them against my cheek, yet I never could move or speak 
to her. I fell ill ; and when I recovered, my mother closely ques- 
tioned me of the tall lady, of whom, in the height of my fever,. 
I had so often spoken. 

I cannot tell you what a weight was taken from my boyish 
spirits, when I learned that this was no apparition, but a most 
lovely woman, not young, though she had kept her young looks ;. 
for the grief which had broken her heart seemed to have spared 
her beauty. 

When the rebel troops were retreating after their total de- 
feat, in that very wood I was so fond of, a young officer, unable 
any longer to endure the anguish of his wounds, sunk from his 
horse, and laid himself down to die. He was found there by the 

daughter of Sir Henry R , and conveyed by a trusty domestic 

to her father's mansion. Sir Henry was a loyalist : but the officer's 
desperate condition excited his compassion, and his many wounds 
spoke a language a brave man could not misunderstand. Sir 
Henry's daughter, with many tears, pleaded for him, and promised 
that he should be carefully and secretly attended. And well she 
kept that promise : for she waited upon him (her mother being 
long dead) for many weeks, and anxiously watched for the opening 
of eyes, that, languid as he was, looked brightly and gratefully 
upon his young nurse. 

You may fancy, better than I can tell you, as he slowly re- 
covered, all the moments that were spent in reading, and low- 
voiced singing, and gentle playing on the lute ; and how many 
fresh flowers were brought to one whose wounded limbs would not 
bear him to gather them for himself; and how calmly the days 
glided on in the blessedness of returning health, and in that sweet 
silence so carefully enjoined him. I will pass by this, to speak of 
one day, which, brighter and pleasanter than others, did not seem 
more bright or more lovely than the looks of the young maiden, 
as she gaily spoke of " a little festival which (though it must bear 
an unworthier name) she meant really to give in honour of her 
guest's recovery ; " " And it is time, lady," said he, " for that guest, 
so tended and so honoured, to tell you his whole story, and speak 
to you of one who will help him to thank you : may I ask you, fair 
lady, to write a little billet for me, which, even in these times of 
danger, I may find some means to forward." To his mother, no 
doubt, she thought, as with light steps and a lighter heart she 
seated herself by his couch, and smilingly bade him dictate : but,, 
when he said, " My dear wife," and lifted up his eyes to be asked 
for more, he saw before him a pale statue, that gave him one look 
of utter despair, and fell, for he had no power to help her, heavily 



EECOLLECTIONS OF A LATE R.A. 331 

at his feet. Those eyes never truly reflected the pure soul again, 
or answered by answering looks the fond inquiries of her poor old 
father. She lived to be as I saw her, sweet and gentle, and delicate 
always : but reason returned no more. She visited till the day of 
her death the spot where she first saw that young soldier, and 
dressed herself in the very clothes that he said so well became 
her. 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A LATE ROYAL ACADEMICIAN 

(1831) 

WHAT Apelles was to the Grecian Alexander, the same to 
the Russian was the late G D . None but 

Apelles might attempt the lineaments of the world's conqueror ; 
none but our Academician could have done justice to the lines of 
the Czar, and his courtiers. There they hang, the labour of ten 
plodding years, in an endless gallery, erected for the nonce, in the 
heart of Imperial Petersburgh — eternal monuments of barbarian 
taste silbmitting to half-civilized cunning — four hundred fierce Half- 
Lengths, all male, and all military ; like the pit in a French theatre, 
or the characters in Timon as it was last acted, with never a 
woman among them. Chaste sitters to Vandyke, models of grace 
and womanhood ; and thou Dame Venetia Digby, fairest among 
thy fair compeers at Windsor, hide your pure pale cheeks, and 
cool English beauties, before this suftbcating horde of Scythian 
riflers, this male chaos ! Your cold oaken frames shall wane before 
the gorgeous buildings, 

With Tartar faces thronged, and horrent uniforms. 

One emperor contended for the monopoly of the ancient ; two 
were competitors at once for the pencil of the modern Apelles. 
The Russian carried it against the Haytian by a single length. 
And if fate, as it was at one time nearly arranged, had wafted D. 
to the shores of Hayti — with the same complacency in his art, 
with which he persisted in daubing in, day after day, his frozen 
Muscovites, he would have sate down for life to smutch in upon 
canvass the faces of blubber-lipped sultanas, or the whole male 
retinue of the dingy court of Christophe. For in truth a choice 
of subjects was the least of D.'s care. A Goddess from Cnidus, or 



332 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

from the Caftre coast, was equal to him ; Lot, or Lot's wife ; the 
charming widow H., or her late husband. 

My acquaintance with D. was in the outset of his art, when the 
graving tools, rather than the pencil, administered to his humble 
wants. Those implements, as is well known, are not the most 
favourable to the cultivation of that virtue, which is esteemed next 
to godliness. He might " wash his hands in innocency," and so 
metaphorically "approach an altar;" but his material puds were 
any thing but fit to be carried to church. By an ingrained economy 
in soap — if it was not for pictorial effect rather — he would wash 
(on Sundays) the inner oval, or portrait, as it may be termed, of his 
countenance, leaving the unwashed temples to form a natural black 
frame round a picture, in which a dead white was the predominant 
colour. This, with the addition of green spectacles, made necessary 
by the impairment, which his graving labours by day and night (for 
he was ordinarily at them for sixteen hours out of the twenty-four) 
had brought upon his visual faculties, gave him a singular appear- 
ance, when he took the air abroad ; in so much, that I have seen a 
crowd of young men and boys following him along Oxford-street 
with admiration, not without shouts ; even as the Youth of Rome, 
we read in Vasari, followed the steps of Raphael with acclamations 
for his genius, and for his beauty, when he proceeded from his 
work -shop to chat with Cardinals and Popes at the Vatican. 

The family of D. were not at this time in affluent circumstances. 
His father, a clever artist, had outlived the style of art, in which 
he excelled most of his contemporaries. He, with the father of the 
celebrated Morland, worked for the shop of Carrington and Bowles, 
which exists still for the poorer sort of caricatures, on the North 
side of St. Paul's Church Yard. They did clever things in colours. 
At an inn in Reading a screen is still preserved, full of their labours; 
but the separate portions of either artist are now undistinguishable. 
I remember a Mother teaching her Child to read (B. Barton has a 
copy of it) ; a Laundress washing ; a young Quaker, a beautiful 
subject. But the flower of their forgotten productions hangs still 
at a public house on the left hand, as thou arrivest, Reader, from 
the now Highgate archway, at the foot of the descent where Crouch 
End begins, on thy road to green Hornsey. Turn in, and look at 
it, for the sight is well worth a cup of excusatory cyder. In the 
parlour to the right you will find it — an antiquated subject — a 
Damsel sitting at her breakfast table in a gown of the flowered 
chintz of our grandmothers, with a tea-service before her of the 
same paMern. The effect is most delicate. Why have these har- 
monies — these agr^mens — no place in the works of modern art.'' 

With such niceties in his calling D. did not much trouble his 
head, but, after an ineffectual experiment to reconcile his eye-sight 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A LATE R.A. 333 

with his occupation, boldly quitted it, and dashed into the beaten 
road of common-place portraiture in oil. The Hopners, and the 
Lawrences, were his Vandykes, and his Velasquezes ; and if he could 
make any thing like them, he insured himself immortality. With 
such guides he struggled on through laborious nights and days, till he 
reached the eminence he aimed at — of mediocrity. Having gained 
that summit, he sate down contented. If the features were but 
cognoscible, no matter whether the flesh resembled flesh, or oil- 
skin. For the thousand tints — the grains — which in life diversify 
the nose, the chin, the cheek — which a Reynolds can but coarsely 
counterfeit — he cared nothing at all about them. He left such 
scrupulosities to opticians and anatomists. If the features were 
but there, the character of course could not be far off. A lucky 
hit which he made in painting the dress of a very dressy lady — 
Mrs. W — e — , whose handsome countenance also, and tall elegance 
of shape, were too palpable entirely to escape under any masque of 
oil, with which even D. could overlay them — brought to him at 
once, an influx of sitters, which almost rivalled the importunate 
calls upon Sir Thomas. A portrait, he did soon after, of the 
Princess Charlotte, clenched his fame. He proceeded Academician. 
At that memorable conjuncture of time it pleased the Allied 
Sovereigns to visit England. 

I called upon D. to congratulate him upon a crisis so doubly event- 
fiil. His pleasant housekeeper seemed embarrassed ; owned that 
her master was alone. But could he be spoken with ? With some 
importunity I prevailed upon her to usher me up into his painting- 
room. It was in Newman -street. At his easel stood D., with an 
immense spread of canvas before him, and by his side a — live Goose. 
I enquired into this extraordinary combination. Under the rose he 
informed me, that he had undertaken to paint a transparency for 
Vauxhall, against an expected visit of the Allied Sovereigns to that 
place. I smiled at an engagement so derogatory to his new-born 
honours ; but a contempt of small gains was never one of D.'s 
foibles. My eyes beheld crude forms of warriors, kings, rising 
under his brush upon this interminable stretch of cloth. The 
Wolga, the Don, and the Nieper, were there, or their repre- 
sentative River Gods ; and Father Thames clubbed urns with the 
Vistula. Glory with her dazzling Eagle was not absent, nor Fame, 
nor Victory. The shade of Rubens might have evoked the mighty 
allegories. But what was the Goose ? He was evidently sitting 
for a something. 

D. at last informed me, that having fixed upon a group of 
rivers, he could not introduce the Royal Thames without his 
swans. That he had enquired the price of a live swan, and it 
being more than he was prepared to give for it, he had bargained 



334 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

with tlie poulterer for the next thing to it ; adding significantly, 
that it would do to roast, after it had served its turn to paint 
swans by. Reader, this is a true story. 

So entirely devoid of imagination, or any feeling for his high art, 
was this Painter, that for the few historical pictures he attempted, 
any sitter might sit for any character. He took once for a subject 
The Infant Hercules. Did he chuse for a model some robust 
antique ? No. He did not even pilfer from Sir Joshua, who 
was nearer to his own size. But from a show he hired to sit to 
him a child in years indeed, (though no Infant,) but in fact a pre- 
cocious Man, or human portent, that was disgustingly exhibiting 
at that period ; a thing to be strangled. From this he formed his 
Infant Hercules. In a scriptural flight he next attempted a Samp- 
son in the lap of Dalilah. A Dalilah of some sort was procureable 
for love or money, but who should stand for the Jewish Hercules .'' 
He hired a tolerably stout porter, with a thickish head of hair, 
curling in yellowish locks, but lithe — much like a wig. And 
these were the robust strengths of Sampson. 

I once was a witness to a family scene in his painting closet, 
which I had entered rather abruptly, and but for his encourage- 
ment, should as hastily have retreated. He stood with displeased 
looks eyeing a female relative — whom I had known under happier 
auspices — that was kneeling at his feet with a baby in her arms, 
with her eyes uplifted and suppliant. Though I could have pre- 
viously sworn to the virtue of Miss , yet casual slips have been 

known. There are such things as families disgraced, where least 

you would have expected it. The child might be ; I had 

heard of no wedding — I was the last person to pry into family 
secrets— when D. relieved my uneasy cogitations by explaining, 
that the innocent, good-humoured creature before me (such as 
she ever was, and is now that she is married) with a baby borrowed 
from the public house, was acting Andromache to his Ulysses, for 
the purpose of transferring upon canvas a tender situation from the 
Troades of Seneca. 

On a subsequent occasion I knocked at D.'s door. I had chanced 
to have been in a dreamy humour previously. I am not one that 
often poetises, but I had been musing — coxcombically enough in 
the heart of Newman-street, Oxford Road — upon Pindus, and the 
Aonian Maids. The Lover of Daphne was in my mind — when, 
answering to my summons, the door opened, and there stood before 
me, laurel-crowned, the God himself, unshorn Apollo. I was be- 
ginning to mutter apologies to the Celestial Presence — when on the 
thumb of the right hand of the Delian (his left held the harp) I 
spied a pallet, such as painters carry, which immediately reconciled 
me to the whimsical transformation of my old acquaintance — with 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A LATE R.A. 335 

his own face, certainly any other than Grecianesque — into a tem- 
porary image of the oracle-giver of Delphos. To have impersonated 
the Ithacan was little; he had been just sitting for a God. — It 
would be no incurious enquiry to ascertain what the minimvj'm 
of the faculty of imagination, ever supposed essential to painters 
along with poets, is, that, in these days of complaints of want of 
patronage towards the fine arts, suffices to dub a man a R — ■ — 1 
A n. 

Not only had D. no imagination to guide him in the treatment 
of such subjects, but he had no relish for high art in the produc- 
tions of the great masters. He turned away from them as from 
something foreign and irrelative to him, and his calling. He knew 
he had neither part nor portion in them. Cozen him into the 
Stafford or the Angerstein Gallery, he involuntarily turned away from 
the Baths of Diana — the Four Ages of Guercino — the Lazarus of 
Piombo — to si)me petty piece of modern art that had been in- 
consistently tUrust into the collection through favour. On that 
he would dwell and pore, blind as the dead to the delicacies that 
surrounded him. There he might learn something. There he might 
pilfer a little. There was no grappling with Titian, or Angelo. 

The narrowness of his domestic habits to the very last, was the 
consequence of his hard bringing up, and unexpected emergence 
into opulence. While rolling up to the ears in Russian rubles, 
a penny was still in his eyes the same important thing, which it 
had with some reason seemed to be, when a few shillings were his 
daily earnings. When he visited England a short time before his 
death, he reminded an artist of a commission, which he had 
executed for him in Russia, the package of which was "still un- 
paid." At this time he was not unreasonably supposed to have 
realized a sum little short of half a million sterling. What became 
of it was never known ; what gulf, or what Arctic vorago, sucked 
it in, his acquaintance in those parts have better means of guessing, 
than his countrymen. It is certain that few of the latter were any 
thing the better for it. 

It was before he expatriated himself, but subsequently to his 
acquisition of pictorial honours in this country, that he brought 
home two of his brother Academicians to dine with him. He had 
given no orders extraordinary to his housekeeper. He trusted, as 
he always did, to her providing. She was a shrewd lass, and knew, 
as we say, a bit of her master's mind. 

It had happened that on the day before, D. passing near Clare 
Market by one of those open shambles, where tripe and cow-heel 
are exposed for sale, his eye was arrested by the sight of some 
tempting flesh rolled up. It is a part of the intestines of some 
animal, which my olfactory sensibilities never permitted me to stay 



336 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

long enough to enquire the name of. D. marked the curious in- 
volutions of the unacquainted luxury ; the harmony of its colours 
—a sable vert — pleased his eye ; and, warmed with the prospect of 
a new flavour, for a few farthings he bore it oiF in triumph to his 
housekeeper. It so happened that his day's dinner was provided, 
so the cooking of the novelty was for that time necessarily sus- 
pended. 

Next day came. The hour of dinner approached. His visitors, 
with no very romantic anticipations, expected a plain meal at least ; 
they were prepared for no new dainties ; when, to the astonishment 
of them, and almost of D. himself, the purchase of the preceding 
day was served up piping hot — the cook declaring, that she did not 
know well what it was, for "her master always marketed." His 
guests were not so happy in their ignorance. They kept dogs. 

I will do D. the justice to say, that on such occasions he took 
what happened in the best humour possible. He had no false 
modesty — though I have generally observed, that persons, who are 
quite deficient in that m-auvaisle] honte, are seldom over-troubled 
with the quality itself, of which it is the counterfeit. 

By what arts, with his pretensions, D. contrived to wriggle him- 
self into a seat in the Academy, I am not acquainted enough with 
the intrigues of that body (more involved than those of an Italian 
conclave) to pronounce. It is certain, that neither for love to 
him, nor out of any respect to his talents, did they elect him. 
Individually he was obnoxious to them all. I have heard that, in 
his passion for attaining this object, he went so far as to go down 
upon his knees to some of the members, whom he thought least 
favourable, and beg their suffrage with many tears. 

But death, which extends the measure of a man's stature to 
appearance; and wealth, which men worship in life and death, 
which makes giants of punies, and embalms insignificance ; called 
around the exequies of this pigmy Painter the rank, the riches, the 
fashion of the world. By Academic hands his pall was borne ; by 
the carriages of nobles of the land, and of ambassadors from foreign 
powers, his bier was followed ; and St. Paul's (O worthy casket for 
the shrine of such a Zeuxis) now holds — all that was mortal of 
G. D. 



LATIN POEMS OF VINCENT BOURNE 337 

THE LATIN POEMS OF VINCENT BOURNE 

(1831) 

A COMPLETE translation of these poems is a desideratum in 
our literature. Cowper has done one at least, out of the 
four which he has given us, with a felicity almost unapproachable. 
Few of our readers can be ignorant of the delightful lines beginning 
with : — 

" There is bird, which by its coat " 

A recent writer has lately added nine more to the number ; we wish 
he would proceed with the remainder, for of all modern Latinity, 
that of Vincent Bourne is the most to our taste. He is " so Latin," 
and yet "so English" all the while. In diction worthy of the 
Augustan age, he presents us with no images that are not familiar 
to his countrymen. His topics are even closelier drawn ; they are 
not so properly English, as Londonish. From the streets, and 
from the alleys, of his beloved metropolis he culled his objects, 
which he has invested with an Hogarthian richness of colouring. 
No town picture by that artist can go beyond his Ballad-Singees ; 
Gay's Tkivia alone, in verse, comes up to the life and humour of it. 

Qu£e septem vicos conterminat una columna, 
Consistunt nymphse Sirenum ex agmine binae ; 
Stramineum capiti tegimen, coUumque per omne 
Ingentes electri orbes : utrique pependit 
Crustato vestis cceno, limoque rigescens 
Crure usque a medio calcera defluxit ad imum. 
Exiguam secum pendentem ex ubere natam 
Altera ; venales dextra tulit altera chartas. 

His vix dispositis, pueri innuptseque puellae 
Accurrunt : sutor primus, cui lorea vitta 
Impediit crines, humili, quse proxima stabat, 
Proruit ^ cella, chartas, si forte placerent, 
Empturus ; namque ille etiam se carmine multo 
Oblectat, longos solus quo rite labores 
Diminuit, fallitque hybernae taedia noctis. 
CoUecti murmur sensim increbrescere vulgi 
Auditi, et excurrit nudis ancilla lacertis. 
Incudem follesque et opus fabrile relinquens, 
Se denss immiscet plebi niger ora Pyracmon. 
It juxta, depressum ingens cui mantica tergum 
Incurvat, tardo passu ; simul ille coronam 
Aspectat vulgi, spe carminis arrigit aures ; 
Statque morae patiens, humeris nee pondera sentit. 
Sic ubi Tartareum Regem Rhodopeius Orpheus 
Threiciis studuit fidibus mulcere, laboris 
Immemor, yEolides stupuit modulamina plectri, 
Nee sensit funesti onera incumbentia saxi. 
Saepe interventus rhedae crepitantis, ab illo 
Vicorum, ant illo, stipantem hinc inde catervam 
Dividit ; at rursus coeunt, ubi transiit ilia, 

VOL. I. — 22 



338 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

Ut coeunt rursus, puppis quas dividit, undae. 
Canticulae interea narraverat argumentum 
Altera Sirenum, infidi perjuria nautse, 
Deceptamque dolo nympham ; turn flebile carmen 
Flebilibus movit numeris, quos altera versu 
Alterno excepit : patulis slant rictibus omnes : 
Dextram ille acclinat, laevam ille attentius aurem, 
Promissum carmen captare paratus hiatu. 
Longa referre mora est, animum qui vicerit arte 
Virgineum juvenis. Jam poscunt undique chartas 
ProtenssE emptorum dextrte, quas ilia vel ilia 
Distribuit, cantatque simul : neque ferreus iste 
Est usquam auditor, dulcis cui lene camaena 
Non adhibet tormentum, et furtivum elicit assem. 
Stat medios inter baculoque innititur Irus ; 
Nee tamen hie loculo parcit, sed prodigus seris 
Emptor adest, solvit pretium, carmenque requirit. 
Fors juxta adstabat vetula iracundior aequo ; 
Qu£e loculo ex imo invitum, longumque latentem 
Depromens vix tandem obolum, Cedo, fcemina, chartam, 
Inquit ; ut aeternum monumentum in pariete figam. 
Cum laribus mansurum ipsis, quam credula nymphis 
Pectora sint ; &audis quam plena, et perfida nautis. 



Where seven fair Streets to one tall Column ' draw, 

Two Nymphs have ta'en their stand, in hats of straw ; 

Their yellower necks huge beads of amber grace, 

And by their trade they're of the Sirens' race. 

With cloak loose-pinn'd on each, that has been red, 

But long with dust and dirt discoloured 

Belies its hue ; in mud behind, before. 

From heel to middle leg becrusted o'er. 

One a small infant at the breast does bear ; 

And one in her right hand her tuneful ware. 

Which she would vend. Their station scarce is taken. 

When youths and maids flock round. His stall forsaken, 

Forth comes a Son of Crispin, leathern-capt, 

Prepared to buy a ballad, if one apt 

To move his fancy offers. Crispin's sons 

Have, from uncounted time, with ale and buns 

Cherish'd the gift of Song, which sorrow quells ; 

And, working single in their low-rooft cells, 

Oft at the tedium of a winter's night 

With anthems warbled in the Muses' spight. 

Who now hath caught the alarm ? The Servant Maid 

Hath heard a buzz at distance ; and, afraid 

To miss a note, with felbows red comes out. 

Leaving his forge to cool, Pyracmon stout 

Thrusts in his unwash'd visage. He stands by, 

Who the hard trade of Porterage does ply 

With stooping shoulders. What cares he ? he sees 

The assembled ring, nor heeds his tottering knees. 

But pricks his ears up with the hopes of song. 

So, while the Bard of Rhodope his wrong 

Bewail'd to Proserpine on Thracian strings, 

The tasks of gloomy Orcus lost their stings. 

And stone-vext Sysiphus forgets his load. 

Hither and thither from the sevenfold road 

^ Seven Dials. 



LATIN POEMS OF VINCENT BOUENE 339 

Some cart or wagon crosses, which divides 

The close-wedged audience ; but, as when the tides 

To ploughing ships give way, the ship being past, 

They re-unite, so these unite as fast. 

The older Songstress hitherto has spent 

Her elocution in the argument 

Of their great Song in prose ; to wit, the woes 

Which Maiden true to faithless Sailor owes — 

Ah " Wandering He!" — which now in loftier verse 

Pathetic they alternately rehearse. 

All gaping wait the event. This Critic opes 

His right ear to the strain. The other hopes 

To catch it better with his left. Long trade 

It were to tell, how the deluded Maid 

A victim fell. And now right greedily 

All hands are stretching forth the songs to buy, 

That are so tragical ; which She, and She, 

Deals out, and sings the while ; nor can there be 

A breast so obdurate here, that will hold back 

His contribution from the gentle rack 

Of Music's pleasing torture. Irus' self, 

The stafF-propt Beggar, his thin-gotten pelf 

Brings out from pouch, where squalid farthings rest, 

And boldly claims his ballad with the rest. 

An old Dame only lingers. To her purse 

The penny sticks. At length, with harmless curse, 

" Give me," she cries — " I'll paste it on my wall. 

While the wall lasts, to show what ills befal 

Fond hearts, seduced from Innocency's way ; 

How Maidens fall, and Mariners betray." 

In the same style of familiar painting, and replete with the same 
images of town life, picturesque as it was comparatively in the 
days of Gay, and of Hogarth, are the various Poematia — to the 
" Bellman "—« Billinsgate "—the "Law Courts"— the "Licensed 
Victualler " — -the " Quack " — the " Quaker's Meeting " cwm multis 
<tliis~oi this most classical of Cockney Poets. In a different strain 
is the following piece of tenderness : — 

IN STATUAM SEPULCHRALEM INFANTIS DORMIENTIS 

Infans venuste, qui sacros dulces agens 

In hoc sopores marmore, 
Placidissima quiete compSstus jaces, 

Et inscius culpse et metiis, 
Somno fruaris, docta quem dedit manus 

Sculptoris ; et somno simul, 
Quem nescit artifex vel Ars effingere, 

Fruaris innocentise. 



Beautiful Infant, who dost keep 
Thy posture here, and sleep'st a marble sleep, 

May the repose unbroken be. 
Which the fine Artist's hand hath lent to thee ! 

While thou enjoy'st along with it 
That which no Art or Craft could ever hit. 

Or counterfeit to moral sense, 
The Heav'n-infused sleep of Innocence. 



340 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

We have selected these two versions from a little volume lately 
published by Mr. Lamb, to which he has strangely given the 
misnomer of "Album Verses." 

Album Verses! why, in the whole collection there are not 
twenty pages out of one hundred and fifty (and cast the acrostics in, 
to swell the amount) that have the smallest title to come under 
this denomination. There is a Tragic Drama, filling up more than 
a third of the book. The rest is composed of — Translations from 
V. Bourne, nine in number — just so many Verses, and no more, 
expressly written for Albums — and the rest might have been written 
any where. But Mr. L. will be wiser another time, than to stand 
Godfather to his own poetry. A sensible Publisher is always the 
best names-man on these occasions. 

But if to write in Albums be a sin, Lord help Wordsworth — 
Coleridge — Southey — Sir Walter himself — who have not been 
always able to resist the solicitations of the fair owners of these 
modern nuisances. Southey has owned to some score, and Mr. 
L.'s offences in this kind, we have said, do not exceed the number 
of the Muses. This may be said even of them, that they are 
not vague verses — to the Moon, or to the Nightingale — that will 
fit any place — but strictly appropriate to the person that they were 
intended to gratify ; or to the species of chronicle which they were 
destined to be recorded in. The Verses to a " Clergyman's Lady " 
—to the "Wife of a learned Serjeant" — to a "Young Quaker" — 
could have appeared only in an Album, and only in that particular 
person's Album they were composed for. 

We are no friend to Albums. We early set our face against 
them in a short copy of verses, which we publish only for our 
own justification. To the question : — 

WHAT IS AN ALBUM ? 

'Tis a Book kept by modern young Ladies for show, 
Of which their plain Grandmothers nothing did know ; 
A Medley of Scraps, half verse, and half prose, 
And some things not very like either, God knows ; 
Where wise folk and simple alike do combine, 
And you write your nonsense, that I may write mine. 
Throw in a fine Landscape, to make it complete — 
A Flower-piece — a Foreground — all tinted so neat. 
As Nature herself, could she see it, would strike 
With envy to think that she ne'er did the like. 
Next forget not to stuff it with Autographs plenty. 
All writ in a style so genteel, and so dainty. 
They no more resemble folk's ord'nary writing. 
Than lines, penn'd with pains, do extemp'ral enditing ; 
Or our every day countenance (pardon the stricture) 
The faces we make when we sit for our picture. 
Thus you have, dearest , an Album complete 



THE DEATH OF MUNDEN 341 

We forget the rest — ^but seriously we deprecate with all our 
powers the unfeminine practice of this novel species of importunity. 
We have known Young Ladies — ay, and of those who have been 
modest and retiring enough upon other occasions — in quest of 
these delicacies, to besiege, and storm by violence, the closets and 
privatest retirements of a literary man, to whom they have had an 
imperfect, or, perhaps, no introduction at all. But the disease has 
gone forth. Like the daughters of the horseleech in the Proverbs, 
the requisition of every female now is, Contribute, Contribute. 
"From the Land's End to the Farthest Thule the cry has gone 
out, and who shall resist it ? Assuming then, that Album Verses 
will be written, where was the harm, if Mr. L. first taught us how 
they might be best, and most characteristically written ? " 

Amid the vague, dreamy, wordy, matterless Poetry of this 
empty age, the verses of such a writer as Bourne (who was a Latin 
Prior) are invaluable. They fix upon something ; they ally 
themselves to common life and objects; their good nature is a 
Catholicon, sanative of coxcombry, of heartlessness, and of fas- 
tidiousness. Vale, Lepidissimum Caput} 



THE DEATH OF MUNDEN 

(1832) 
To the Editor of The AthenceuTn 

DEAR SIR,-^Your communication to me of the death of 
Munden made me weep. Now, Sir, I am not of the melting 
mood. But, in these serious times, the loss of half the world's fun 
is no trivial deprivation. It was my loss (or gain shall I call it ?) 
in the early time of my play-going, to have missed all Munden's 
acting. There was only he, and Lewis at Covent Garden, while 
Drury Lane was exuberant with Parsons, Dodd, &c., such a comic 
company as, I suppose, the stage never showed. Thence, in the 
evening of my life, I had Munden all to myself, more mellowed, 
richer perhaps than ever. I cannot say what his change of faces 

' Of this writer we only know, that he was an usher some seventy years since at 
Westminster School ; and that Dr. Johnson (who knew him) speaks of him 
always affectionately as " poor Vinny Bourne." 



342 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

produced in me. It was not acting. He was not one of my " old 
actors." It might be [he was] better. His power was extravagant. 
I saw him one evening in three drunken characters. Three Farces 
were played. One part was Dosey — I forget the rest : — but they 
were so discriminated, that a stranger might have seen them all, and 
not have dreamed that he was seeing the same actor. I am jealous 
for the actors who pleased my youth. He was not a Parsons or a 
Dodd, but he was more wonderful. He seemed as if he could 
do anything. He was not an actor, but something better, if you 
please. Shall I instance Old Foresight, in " Love for Love," in 
which Parsons was at once the old man, the astrologer, &c. 
Munden dropped the old man, the doater — which makes the 
character — but he substituted for it a moon-struck character, a 
perfect abstraction from this earth, that looked as if he had newly 
come down from the planets. Now, that is not what I call acting. 
It might be better. He was imaginative ; he could impress upon 
an audience an idea — the low one perhaps of a leg of mutton and 
turnips ; but such was the grandeur and singleness of his ex- 
pressions, that that single expression would convey to all his 
auditory a notion of all the pleasures they had all received from 
all the legs of mutton and turnips they had ever eaten in their 
lives. Now, this is not acting, nor do I set down Munden amongst 
my old actors. He was only a wonderful man, exerting his vivid 
impressions through the agency of the stage. In one only thing did 
I see him act — -that is, support a character ; it was in a wretched 
farce, called "Johnny Gilpin," for Dowton's benefit, in which he 
did a cockney ; the thing ran but one night ; but when I say that 
Liston's Lubin Log was nothing to it, I say little ; it was trans- 
cendant. And here, let me say of actors — envious actors — that of 
Munden, Liston was used to speak, almost with the enthusiasm 
due to the dead, in terms of such allowed superiority to every actor 
on the stage, and this at a time when Munden was gone by in the 
world's estimation, that it convinced me that artists (in which 
terra I include poets, painters, &c.), are not so envious as the world 
think. I have little time, and therefore enclose a criticism on 
Munden's Old Dosey and his general acting, by a gentleman, who 
attends less to these things than formerly, but whose criticism I 
think masterly. 

C. Lamb. 



THOUGHTS ON PEESENTS OF GAME 343 

THOUGHTS ON PRESENTS OF GAME, &c. 

(1833) 

" We love to have our friend in the country sitting thus at our table by proxy ; 
to apprehend his presence (though a hundred miles may be between us) by a turkey, 
whose goodly aspect reflects to us his ' plump corpusculum ; ' to taste him in grouse 
or woodcock ; to feel him gliding down in the toast peculiar to the latter ; to con- 
corporate him in a slice of Canterbury brawn. This is indeed to have him within 
ourselves ; to know him intimately ; such participation is methinks unitive, as the 
old theologians phrase it." — Last Essays of Elia. 

ELIA presents his acknowledgments to his " Correspondent un- 
known," for a basket of prodigiously fine game. He takes 
for granted that so amiable a character must be a reader of the 
Athenceum. Else he had meditated a notice in The Times. Now 
if this friend had consulted the Delphic oracle for a present suited to 
the palate of Elia, he could not have hit upon a morsel so accept- 
able. The birds he is barely thankful for; pheasants are poor 
fowls disguised in fine feathers. But a hare roasted hard and 
brown — with gravy and melted butter! — old Mr. Chambers, the 
sensible clergyman in Warwickshire, whose son's acquaintance has 
made many hours happy in the life of Elia, used to allow a pound 
of Epping to every hare. Perhaps that was over-doing it. But, 
in spite of the note of Philomel, who, like some fine poets, that 
think no scorn to adopt plagiarisms from a humble brother, 
reiterates every spring her cuckoo cry of "Jug, Jug, Jug," Elia 
pronounces that a hare, to be truly palated, must be roasted. 
Jugging sophisticates her. In our way it eats so " crips," as Mrs. 
Minikin says. Time was, when Elia was not arrived at his taste, 
that he preferred to all luxuries a roasted Pig. But he disclaims 
all such green-sickness appetites in future, though he hath to 
acknowledge the receipt of many a delicacy in that kind from 
correspondents — good, but mistaken men — in consequence of their 
erroneous supposition, that he had carried up into mature life the 
prepossessions of childhood. From the worthy Vicar of Enfield he 
acknowledges a tithe contribution of extraordinary sapor. The 
ancients must have loved hares. Else why adopt the word lepores 
(obviously from lepus) but for some subtle analogy between the 
delicate flavour of the latter, and the finer relishes of wit in what 
we most poorly translate pleasantries. The fine madnesses of the 
poet are the very decoction of his diet. Thence is he hare-brained. 
Harum-scarum is a libellous unfounded phrase of modern usage. 
'Tis true the hare is the most circumspect of animals, sleeping with 
her eye open. Her ears, ever erect, keep them in that wholesome 
exercise, which conduces them to form the very tit-bit of the 



344 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

admirers of this noble animal. Noble will I call her, in spite of 
her detractors, who from occasional demonstrations of the principle 
of self-preservation (common to all animals) infer in her a defect of 
heroism. Half a hundred horsemen with thrice the number of 
dogs, scour the country in pursuit of puss across three counties ; 
and because the well-flavoured beast, weighing the odds, is willing 
to evade the hue and cry, with her delicate ears shrinking per- 
chance from discord — comes the grave Naturalist, Linnaeus perchance 
or Buffbn, and gravely sets down the Hare as a — timid animal. 
Why, Achilles or Bully Dawson, would have declined the prepos- 
terous combat. 

In fact, how light of digestion we feel after a hare ! How tender 
its processes after swallowing ! What chyle it promotes ! How 
etherial ! as if its living celerity were a type of its nimble coursing 
through the animal juices. The notice might be longer. It is 
intended less as a Natural History of the Hare, than a cursory 
thanks to the country "good Unknown." The hare has many 
friends, but none sincerer than 

Elia. 



TABLE-TALK BY THE LATE ELIA 

(1833 and 1834) 

THE greatest pleasure I know, is to do a good action by stealth, 
and to have it found out by accident. 

'Tis unpleasant to meet a beggar. It is painful to deny him ; 
and, if you relieve him, it is so much out of your pocket. 

Men marry for fortune, and sometimes to please their fancy ; but, 
much oftener than is suspected, they consider what the world will 
say of it ; how such a woman in their friends' eyes will look at the 
head of a table. Hence, we see so many insipid beauties made 
wives of, that could not have struck the particular fancy of any 
man, that had any fancy at all. These I call furniture wives ; as 
men buy furniture pictures, because they suit this or that niche 
in their dining parlours. 

Your universally cried-up beauties are the very last choice which 
a man of taste would make. What pleases all, cannot have that 
individual charm, which makes this or that countenance engaging 
to you, and to you only perhaps, you know not why. What gained 



TABLE-TALK BY THE LATE ELIA 345 

the fair Gunnings titled husbands, who, after all, turned out very 
sorry wives ? Popular repute. 

It is a sore trial when a daughter shall marry against her father's 
approbation. A little hard-heartedness, and aversion to a reconcile- 
ment, is almost pardonable. After all. Will Dockwray's way is 
perhaps the wisest. His best-loved daughter made a most im- 
prudent match ; in fact, eloped with the last man in the world 
that her father would have wished her to marry. All the world 
said that he would never speak to her again. For months she 
durst not write to him, much less come near him. But, in a casual 
rencounter, he met her in the streets of Ware ; — Ware, that will 
long remember the mild virtues of William Dockwray, Esq. What 
said the parent to his disobedient child, whose knees faltered under 
her at the sight of him ? " Ha ! Sukey, is it you ? " with that 
benevolent aspect, with which he paced the streets of Ware, vener- 
ated as an angel, " come and dine with us on Sunday ; " then 
turning away, and again turning back, as if he had forgotten some- 
thing, he added, " and Sukey, do you hear, bring your husband 
with you." This was all the reproof she ever heard from him. 
Need it be added, that the match turned out better for Susan than 
the world expected ? 

" We read the Paradise Lost as a task," says Dr. Johnson. Nay, 
rather as a celestial recreation, of which the dullard mind is not at 
all hours alike recipient. " Nobody ever wished it longer ; " — nor 
the moon rounder, he might have added. Why, 'tis the perfect- 
ness and completeness of it, which makes us imagine that not a 
line could be added to it, or diminished from it, with advantage. 
Would we have a cubit added to the stature of the Medicean 
Venus ? Do we wish her taller .'' 



Lear. Who are you ? \ 
Mine eyes are not o' the best: I'll tell you'straight 
Are you not Kent ? 

Kent. The same ; 
Your servant Kent. Where is your servant Caius ? 

Lear. He's a good iello-w, I can tell you that ; 
He'll strike, and quickly too : he's dead and rotten. 

Kent. No, my good Lord ; I am the very man 

Lear. I'll see that straight 

Kent. That from your first of difference and decay. 
Have foUow'd your sad steps. 

Lear. You are welcome hither 

Albany. He knows not what he says ; and vain it is 
That we present us to him. 

Edgar. Look up, my Lord. 

Kent. Vex not his ghost. 0, let him pass ! He hates him much. 
That would upon the rack of this rough world 
Stretch him out longer. 



346 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

So ends ' King Lear,' the most stupendous of the Shakspearian 
dramas ; and Kent, the noblest feature of the conceptions of his 
divine mind. This is the magnanimity of authorship, when a 
writer, having a topic presented to him, fruitful of beauties for 
common minds, waives his privilege, and trusts to the judicious 
few for understanding the resison of his abstinence. What a pudder 
would a common dramatist have raised here of a reconciliation 
scene, a perfect recognition, between the assumed Caius and his 
master ! — to the suffusing of many fair eyes, and the moistening of 
cambric handkerchiefs. The old dying king partially catching at 
the truth, and immediately lapsing into obliviousness, with the 
high-minded carelessness of the other to have his services appreci- 
ated, as one that 

served not for gain, 

Or follow'd out of form, 

are among the most judicious, not to say heart-touching, strokes in 
Shakspeare. 

Allied to this magnanimity it is, where the pith and point of 
an argument, the amplification of which might compromise the 
modesty of the speaker, is delivered briefly, and, as it were, 
parenthetically ; as in those few but pregnant words, in which the 
man in the old 'Nut-brown Maid' rather intimates than reveals 
his unsuspected high birth to the woman : — 

Now understand, to Westmorland, 

Which is my heritage, 
I will you bring, and with a ring, 

By way of marriage, 
I will you take, and Lady make. 

Turn we to the version of it, ten times diluted, of dear Mat. 
Prior — in his own way unequalled, and a poet now-a-days too 
much neglected — " In me," quoth Henry, addressing the astounded 
Emma — with a flourish and an attitude, as we may conceive : — 

In me behold the potent Edgar's heir. 
Illustrious Earl I him terrible in war. 
Let Loire confess. 

And with a deal of skimble-skamble stuff, as Hotspur would term 
it, more, presents the Lady with a full and true enumeration of his 
Papa's rent-roll in the fat soil by Deva. 

But of all parentheses, (not to quit the topic too suddenly,) com- 
mend me to that most significant one, at the commencement of the 
old popular ballad of Fair Rosamund : — 

When good King Henry ruled this land. 
The second of that name. 



TABLE-TALK BY THE LATE ELIA 347 

Now mark — 

(Besides the Queen) he dearly loved 
A fair and comely dame. 

There is great virtue in this besides. 



Amidst the complaints of the wide spread of infidelity among 
us, it is consolatory that a sect is sprung up in the heart of the 
metropolis, and is daily on the increase, of teachers of that healing 
doctrine, which Pope upheld, and against which Voltaire directed 
his envenomed wit. We mean those practical preachers of optim- 
ism, or the belief that Whatever is is best — the Cads of Omnibuses ; 
who, from their little back pulpits — not once in three or four hours, 
as those proclaimers of " God and his prophet " in Mussulman 
countries ; but every minute, at the entry or exit of a brief 
passenger, are heard, in an almost prophetic tone, to exclaim^ — 
(Wisdom crying out, as it were, in the streets,) — All's eight. 



Advice is not so commonly thrown away as is imagined. We 
seek it in difficulties. But, in common speech, we are apt to 
confound with it admonition ; as when a friend reminds one that 
drink is prejudicial to the health, &c. We do not care to be told 
of that which we know better than the good man that admonishes. 
M sent to his friend L , who is no water-drinker, a two- 
penny tract ' Against the Use of Fermented Ijiquors.' L 

acknowledged the obligation, as far as to twopence. Penotier's 
advice was the safest after all : 

" I advised him " 

But I must tell you. The dear, good-meaning, no-thinking 
creature, had been dumb-founding a company of us with a detail 
of inextricable difficulties, in which the circumstances of an acquaint- 
ance of his were involved. No clue of light offered itself. He 
grew more and more misty as he proceeded. We pitied his friend, 
and thought, 

God help the man so wrapt in error's endless maze : 

when, suddenly brightening up his placid countenance, like one that 
had found out a riddle, and looked to have the solution admired, 

" At last," said he, " I advised him " 

Here he paused, and here we were again interminably thrown 
back. By no possible guess could any of us aim at the drift of the 
meaning he was about to be delivered of. "I advised him," he re- 
peated, "to have some advice upon the subject." A general 



348 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

approbation followed ; and it was unanimously agreed, that, under 
all the circumstances of the case, no sounder or more judicious 
counsel could have been given. 

A laxity pervades the popular use of words. Parson W — is 

not quite so continent as Diana, yet prettily dissembleth his frailty. 

Is Parson W therefore a hypocrite ? I think not. Where 

the concealment of a vice is less pernicious than the bare-faced 
publication of it would be, no additional delinquency is incurred in 

the secrecy. Parson W is simply an immoral clergyman. But 

if Parson W were to be for ever haranguing on the opposite 

virtue, — choosing for his perpetual text, in preference to all other 
pulpit topics, the remarkable resistance recorded in the 39th of 
Exodus — dwelling, moreover, and dilating upon it — then Parson 
W— — might be reasonably suspected of hypocrisy. But Parson 

W rarely diverteth into such line of argument, or toucheth it 

briefly. His ordinary topics are fetched from " obedience to the 
powers that are " — " submission to the civil magistrate in all com- 
mands that are not absolutely unlawful ; " on which he can delight 
to expatiate with equal fervour and sincerity. Again, to despise a 
person is properly to look down upon him with none, or the least 
possible emotion. But when Clementina, who has lately lost her 
lover, with bosom heaving, eyes flashing, and her whole frame in 
agitation, pronounces, with a peculiar emphasis, that she " despises 
the fellow," depend upon it that he is not quite so despicable in her 
eyes as she would have us imagine. — One more instance : — If we 
must naturalize that portentous phrase, a truism, it were well that 
we limited the use of it. Every commonplace or trite observation 
is not a truism. For example : A good name helps a man on in the 
world. This is nothing but a simple truth, however hackneyed. 
It has a distinct subject and predicate. But when the thing pre- 
dicated is involved in the term of the subject, and so necessarily 
involved that by no possible conception they can be separated, then 
it becomes a truism ; as to say, A good name is a proof of a man's 
estimation in the world. We seem to be saying something when 

we say nothing. I was describing to F some knavish tricks of 

a mutual friend of ours. "If he did so and so," was the reply, 
"he cannot be an honest man." Here was a genuine truism — 
truth upon truth — inference and proposition identical ; or rather a 
dictionary definition usurping the place of an inference. 



The vices of some men are magnificent. Compare the amours of 
Henry the Eighth and Charles the Second. The Stuart had mis- 
tresses — the Tudor kept wives. 



TABLE-TALK BY THE LATE ELIA 349 

We are ashamed at sight of a monkey — somehow as we are shy 
of poor relations. 

C imagined a Caledonian compartment in Hades, where 

there should be fire without sulphur. 

Absurd images are sometimes irresistible. I will mention two. 
An elephant in a coach-office gravely coming to have his trunk 
booked ; — a mermaid over a fish-kettle cooking her own tail. 

It is the praise of Shakspeare, with reference to the play-writers, 
his contemporaries, that he has so few revolting characters. Yet 
he has one that is singularly mean and disagreeable — the King in 
Hamlet. Neither has he characters of insignificance, unless the 
phantom that stalks over the stage as Julius Caesar, in the play of 
that name, may be accounted one. Neither has he envious char- 
acters, excepting the short part of Don John, in Much Ado about 
Nothing. Neither has he unentertaining characters, if we except 
Parolles, and the little that there is of the Clown, in All's Well 
that Ends Well. 

It would settle the dispute, as to whether Shakspeare intended 
Othello for a jealous character, to consider how differently we are 
affected towards him, and for Leontes in the Winter's Tale. Leon- 
tes is that character. Othello's fault was simply credulity. 

Is it possible that Shakspeare should never have read Homer, in 
Chapman's version at least .'' If he had read it, could he mean to 
travesty it in the parts of those big boobies, Ajax and Achilles.'' 
Ulysses, Nestor, and Agamemnon, are true to their parts in the 
Iliad : they are gentlemen at least. Thersites, though unamusing, 
is fairly deducible from it. Troilus and Cressida are a fine graft 
upon it. But those two big bulks 

It is a desideratum in works that treat de re culinarid, that we 
have no rationale of sauces, or theory of mixed flavours ; as to show 
why cabbage is reprehensible with roast beef, laudable with bacon ; 
why the haunch of mutton seeks the alliance of currant .jelly, the 
shoulder civilly declineth it ; why loin of veal (a pretty problem), 
being itself unctuous, seeketh the adventitious lubricity of melted 
butter; and why the same part in pork, not more oleaginous, 
abhorreth from it; why the French bean sympathizes with the 
flesh of deer ; why salt fish points to parsnip, brawn makes a dead 
set at mustard ; why cats prefer valerian to hearts-ease, old ladies 
vice versa — -though this is rather travelling out of the road of tlie 
dietetics, and may be thought a question more curious than rele- 
vant ; — why salmon (a strong sapor per se,) fortifieth its condition 
with the mighty lobster sauce, whose embraces are fatal to the 
delicater relish of the turbot; why oysters in death rise up against 
the contamination of brown sugar, while they are posthumously 



350 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

amorous of vinegar ; why the sour mango and the sweet jam [? yam] 
by turns court, and are accepted by, the compilable mutton hash- 
she not yet decidedly declaring for either. We are as yet but in 
the empirical stage of cookery. We feed ignorantly, and want to 
be able to give a reason of the relish that is in us ; so that if Nature 
should furnish us with a new meat, or be prodigally pleased to 
restore the phoenix, upon a given flavour, we might be able to 
pronounce instantly, on philosophical principles, what the sauce 
to it should be — what the curious adjuncts. 



SAMUEL JOHNSON, THE W^HIG 

{Date unknown) 

SAMUEL JOHNSON, whom, to distinguish from the doctor, 
we may call the Whig, was a very remarkable writer. He 
may be compared to his contemporary. Dr. Fox, whom he resembled 
in many points. He is another instance of King William's dis- 
crimination, which was so superior to that of any of his ministers. 
Johnson was one of the most formidable of the advocates for the 
Exclusion Bill ; and he suffered by whipping and imprisonment 
under James accordingly. Like Asgill, he argues with great 
apparent candour and clearness till he gets his opponent within 
reach ; and then comes a blow as from a sledge-|iammer. I do 
not know where I could put my hand on a book containing so 
much sense and constitutional doctrine as this thin folio of John- 
son's Works ; and what party in this country would read so severe 
a lecture in it as our modern Whigs ? A close reasoner and a good 
writer in general may be known by his pertinent use of connections. 
Read any page of Johnson, you cannot alter one conjunction with- 
out spoiling the sense : it is a linked chain throughout. In our 
modern books, for the most part, the sentences in a page have the 
same connection with each other that marbles have in a bag : they 
touch without adhering. 



LONDON FOGS 351 

LONDON FOGS 

(Date imknown) 

IN a well-mix'd Metropolitan Fog there is something substantial 
and satisfying — you can feel what you breathe, and see it too. 
It is like breathing water, as we may fancy the fishes do. And 
then the taste of it, when dashed with a fine season of sea-coal- 
smoke, is far from insipid. It is also meat and drink at the same 
time : something between egg-flip and omelette soufflee, but much 
more digestible than either. Not that I would recommend it 
medicinally — especially to persons that have queasy stomachs, 
delicate nerves, and afflicted with bile ; but for persons of a good 
robust habit of body, and not dainty withal (which such, by the by, 
never are), there is nothing better in its way. And it wraps you 
all round like a Cloak, too — a patent water-proof one, which no 
rain ever penetrated. No ; I maintain that a real London Fog is a 
thing not to be sneezed at — if you can help it. MeTti. — As many 
spiu-ious imitations of the above are abroad, such as Scotch Mists, 
and the like, which are no less deleterious than disagreeable, please 
to ask for the "true London particular," as manufactured by 
Thames, Coal Gas, Smoke, Steam & Co. — None others are genuine. 

C. Lamb. 



w 



THE DEATH OF COLERIDGE 

In the Album of Mr. Keymer 

(1834) 

HEN I heard of the death of Coleridge, it was without 
grief. It seemed to me that he long had been on the 
confines of the next world, — that he had a hunger for eternity. 
I grieved then that I could not grieve. But since, I feel how great 
a part he was of me. His great and dear spirit haunts me. I 
cannot think a thought, I cannot make a criticism on men or 
books, without an ineffectual turning and reference to him. He 
was the proof and touchstone of all my cogitations. He was a 
Grecian (or in the first form) at Christ's Hospital, where I was 
deputy Grecian ; and the same subordination and deference to him 
I have preserved through a life-long acquaintance. Great in his 
writings, he was greatest in his conversation. In him was dis- 
proved that old maxim, that we should allow every one his share of 



352 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

talk. He would talk from mom to dewy eve, nor cease till far raid- 
night, yet who ever would interrupt him, — who would obstruct 
that continuous flow of converse, fetched from Helicon or Zion ? 
He had the tact of making the unintelligible seem plain. Many 
who read the abstruser parts of his " Friend " would complain that 
his works did not answer to his spoken wisdom. They were 
identical. But he had a tone in oral delivery, which seemed to 
convey sense to those who were otherwise imperfect recipients. 
He was my fifty years old friend without a dissension. Never saw 
I his likeness, nor probably the world can see again. I seem to 
love the house he died at more passionately than when he lived. 
I love the faithful Gilmans more than while they exercised their 
virtues towards him living. What was his mansion is consecrated 
to me a chapel. 

Chs. Lamb. 
Edmonton, November 21, 1834. 



CUPID'S REVENGE 

{Date unknown) 

LEONTIUS, Duke of Lycia, who in times past had borne the 
character of a wise and just governor, and was endeared to 
all ranks of his subjects, in his latter days fell into a sort of 
dotage, which manifested itself in an extravagant fondness for his 
daughter Hidaspes. This young maiden, with the Prince Leu- 
cippus, her brother, were the only remembrances left to him of a 
deceased and beloved consort. For her nothing was thought too 
precious. Existence was of no value to him but a.s it afforded 
opportunities of gratifying her wishes. To be instrumental in 
relieving her from the least little pain, or grief, he would have 
lavished his treasures to the giving away of the one half of his 
dukedom. 

All this deference on the part of the parent had yet no power 
upon the mind of the daughter to move her at any time to solicit 
any unbecoming suit, or to disturb the even tenor of her thoughts. 
The humility and dutifulness of her carriage seemed to keep pace 
with hjs apparent willingness to release her from the obligations of 
either. She might have satisfied her wildest humors and caprices ; 
but in truth no such troublesome guests found harbor in the 
bosom of the quiet, and unaspiring maiden. 

Thus far the prudence of the Princess served to counteract any 
ill effects which this ungovernable partiality in a parent was cal- 
culated to produce in a less virtuous nature than Hidaspes's ; and 



CUPID'S REVENGE 353 

this foible of the duke's, so long as no evil resulted from it, was 
passed over by the courtiers as a piece of harmless frenzy. 

But upon a solemn day — a sad one, as it proved for Lycia — 
when the returning anniversary of the Princess's birth was kept 
with extraordinary rejoicings, the infatuated father set no bounds 
to his folly, but would have his subjects to do homage to her for 
that day, as to their natural sovereign ; as if he, indeed, had been 
dead, and she, to the exclusion of the male succession, was become 
the rightful ruler of Lycia. He saluted her by the style of Duchess ; 
and with a terrible oath, in the presence of his nobles, he confirmed 
to her the grant of all things whatsoever that she should demand 
on that day, and for the six next following ; and if she should ask 
any thing the execution of which must be deferred until after his 
death, he pronounced a dreadful curse upon his son and successor, if 
he failed to see to the performance of it. 

Thus encouraged, the Princess stepped forth with a modest bold- 
ness, and, £is if assured of no denial, spake as follows : 

But before we acquaint you with the purport of her speech, we 
must premise, that in the land of Lycia, which was at that time 
pagan, above all their other gods the inhabitants did in an especial 
manner adore the deity who was supposed to have influence in the 
disposing of people's affections in love. Him, by the name of God 
Cupid, they feigned to be a beautiful boy, and winged, as indeed, 
between young persons these frantic passions are usually least 
under constraint; while the wings might signify the haste with 
which these ill-judged attachments are commonly dissolved, and do 
indeed go away as lightly as they come, flying away in an instant 
to light upon some newer fancy. They painted him blindfolded, 
because these silly affections of lovers make them blind to the 
defects of the beloved object, which every one is quick-sighted 
enough to discover but themselves ; or because love is for the most 
part led blindly, rather than directed by the open eye of the 
judgment, in the hasty choice of a mate. Yet, with that in- 
consistency of attributes with which the heathen people commonly 
over-complimented their deities, this blind love, this Cupid, they 
figured with a bow and an-ows ; and, being sightless, they yet 
feigned him to be a notable archer and an unerring marksmaij. No 
heart was supposed to be proof against the point of his inevitable 
dart. By such incredible fictions did these poor pagans make a 
shift to excuse their vanities, and to give a sanction to their 
irregular affections, under the notion that love was irresistible; 
whereas, in a well-regulated mind, these amorous conceits either 
find no place at all, or, having gained a footing, are easily stifled 
in the beginning by a wise and manly resolution. 

This frenzy in the people had long been a source of disquiet to 
VOL. I. — 23 



354 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

the discreet Princess, and many were the conferences she had held 
with the virtuous Prince, her brother, as to the best mode of taking 
off the minds of the Lycians from this vain superstition. An 
occasion, furnished by the bHnd grant of the old Duke, their father, 
seemed now to present itself. 

The courtiers, then, being assembled to hear the demand which 
the Princess should make, began to conjecture, each one according 
to the bent of his own disposition, what the thing would be that 
she should ask for. One said, " Now surely she will ask to have the 
disposal of the revenues of some wealthy province, to lay them out 
— as was the manner of Eastern princesses — in costly dresses and 
jewels becoming a lady of so great expectancies." Another thought 
that she would seek an extension of power, as women naturally love 
rule and dominion. But the most part were in hope that she was 
about to beg the hand of some neighbor prince in marriage, who, 
by the wealth and contiguity of his dominions, might add strength 
and safety to the realm of Lycia. But in none of these things was 
the expectation of these crafty and worldly-minded courtiers grati- 
fied. For Hidaspes, first making lowly obeisance to her father, and 
thanking him on bended knees for so great grace conferred upon 
her — according to a plan preconcerted with Leucippus — made suit 
as follows : 

" Your loving care of me, O princely father, by which in my 
tenderest age you made up to me for the loss of a mother at those 
years when I was scarcely able to comprehend the misfortune, and 
your bounties to me ever since, have left me nothing to ask for 
myself, as wanting and desiring nothing. But for the people 
whom you govern I beg and desire a boon. It is known to all 
nations that the men of Lycia are noted for a vain and fruitless 
superstition — the more hateful as it bears a show of true religion, 
but is indeed nothing more than a self-pleasing and bold wanton- 
ness. Many ages before this, when every man had taken to him- 
self a trade, as hating idleness far worse than death, some one that 
gave himself to sloth and wine, finding himself by his neighbours 
rebuked for his unprofitable life, framed to himself a God whom 
he pretended to obey in his dishonesty ; and, for a name, he called 
him Cupid. This God of merely man's creating — as the nature of 
man is ever credulous of any vice which takes part with his dis- 
solute conditions — quickly found followers enough. They multiplied 
in every age, especially among your Lycians, who to this day remain 
adorers of this drowsy Deity, who certainly was first invented in 
drink, as sloth and luxury are commonly the first movers in these 
idle love-passions. This winged Boy — for so they fancy him — has 
his sacrifices, his loose Images set up in the land through all the 
villages — nay, your own sacred palace is not exempt from them — to 



CUPID'S REVENGE 355 

the scandal of sound devotion and dishonour of the true Deities, 
which are only they who give good gifts to man — as Ceres, who 
gives us com ; the planter of the olive, Pallas ; Neptune, who 
directs the track of ships over the great ocean, and binds distant 
lands together in friendly commerce ; the inventor of medicine and 
music, Apollo ; and the cloud-compelling Thunderer of Olympus. 
Whereas the gifts of this idle Deity — if, indeed, he have a being at 
all out of the brain of his frantic worshipers — usually prove 
destructive and pernicious. My suit, then, is, that this unseemly 
Idol throughout the land be plucked down and cast into the lire ; 
and that the adoring of the same may be prohibited on pain of 
death to any of your subjects henceforth found so offending." 

Leontius, startled at this unexpected demand from the Princess, 
with tears besought her to ask some wiser thing, and not to bring 
down upon herself and him the indignation of so great a God. 

" There is no such God as you dream of," said then Leucippus, 
boldly, who had hitherto forborne to second the petition of the 
Princess ; " but a vain opinion of him has filled the land with love 
and wantonness. Every young man and maiden that feel the least 
desire to one another, dare in no case to suppress it, for they think 
it to be Cupid's motion, and that he is a God ! " 

Thus pressed by the solicitations of both his children, and feariiig 
the oath which he had taken, in an evil hour the misgiving father 
consented ; and a proclamation was sent throughout all the pro- 
vinces for the putting down of the Idol, and the suppression or the 
established Cupid-worship. 

Notable, you may be sure, was the stir made in all places among 
the priests, and among the artificers in gold, in silver, or. in marble; 
who made a gainful trade, either in serving at the altar or in the 
manufacture of the iniages no longer to be tolerated. The cry was 
clamorous as that at Ephesus, when a kindred Idol was in danger ; 
for "great had been Cupid of the Lycians." Nevertheless the 
power of the Duke, backed by the power of his more popular 
children, prevailed ; and the destruction of every vestige of the 
old religion was but as the work of one day throughout the 
country. 

And now, as the Pagan chronicles of Lycia inform us, the dis- 
pleasure of Cupid went out — the displeasure of a great God-^— 
flying through all the dukedom, and sowing evils. But upon the 
first movers of the profanation his angry hand lay heaviest, and 
there was imposed upon them a strange misery, that all might 
know that Cupid's revenge was mighty. With his arrows hotter 
than plagues, or than his own anger, did he fiercely right himself; 
nor could the prayers of a few concealed worshipers, nor the 
smoke arising from an altar here and there which had escaped the 



356 MISCELLANEOUS PEOSE, 1798-1834 

general overthrow, avert his wrath, or make him cease from 
vengeance, until he had made of the once flourishing country of 
Lycia a most wretched land. He sent no famines — he let loose no 
cruel wild beasts among them — inflictions, with one or other of which 
the rest of the Olympian deities are fabled to have visited the 
nations under their displeasure — but took a nearer course of his 
own, and his invisible arrows went to the moral heart of Lycia, 
infecting and filling court and country with desires of unlawful 
marriages, unheard-of and monstrous affections, prodigious and 
misbecoming unions. 

The symptoms were first visible in the changed bosom of Hidaspes. 
This exemplary maiden — whose cold modesty, almost to a failing, 
had discouraged the addresses of so many princely suitors that had 
sought her hand in marriage — by the venom of this inward pesti- 
lence came on a sudden to cast eyes of affection upon a mean and 
deformed creature, Zoilus by name, who was a dwarf, and lived 
about the palace, the common jest of the courtiers. In her be- 
sotted eyes he was grown a goodly gentleman. And to her maidens, 
when any of them reproached him with the defect of his shape 
in her hearing, she would reply that, "to them, indeed, he might 
appear defective, and unlike a man, as, indeed, no man was like 
unto him, for in form and complexion he was beyond painting. 
He is like," she said, "to nothing that we have seen ; yet he doth 
resemble Apollo, as I have fancied him, when, rising in the east, 
lie bestirs himself, and shakes daylight from his hair." And, over- 
come with a passion which was heavier than she could bear, she 
confessed herself a wretched creature, and implored forgiveness of 
God Cupid, whom she had provoked, and, if possible, that he 
would grant it to her, that she might enjoy her love. Nay, she 
would court this piece of deformity to his face ; and when the 
wretch, supposing it to be done in mockery, ha^ said that he could 
wish himself more ill-shaped than he was, so it could contribute to 
make her Grace merry, she would reply, " Oh, think not that I jest ! 
unless it be a jest not to esteem my life in comparison with thine — 
to hang a thousand kisses in an hour upon those lips — unless it be 
a jest to vow that I am willing to become your wife, and to take 
obedience upon me." And by his " own white hand," taking it in 
hers — so strong was the delusion — she besought him to swear to 
marry her. 

The term had not yet expired of the seven days within which 
the doting Duke had sworn to fulfil her will, when, in pursuance 
of this frenzy, she presented herself before her father, leading in 
the dwarf by the hand, and, in the face of all the courtiers, solemnly 
demanding his hand in marriage. And when the apish creature 
made show of blushing at the unmerited honour, she, to comfort 



CUPID'S REVENGE 357 

him, bade him not to be ashamed, for " in her eyes he was worth 
a kingdom." 

And now, too late, did the fond father repent him of his dotage. 
But when by no importunity he could prevail upon her to desist 
from her suit, for his oath's sake he must needs consent to the 
marriage. But the ceremony was no sooner, to the derision of all 
present, performed, than, with the just feelings of an outraged 
parent, he commanded the head of the presumptuous bridegroom 
to be stricken off, and committed the distracted princess close 
prisoner to her chamber, where, after many deadly swoonings, with 
intermingled outcries upon the cruelty of her father, she, in no long 
time after, died, making ineffectual appeals, to the last, to the 
mercy of the offended Power — the Power that had laid its heavy 
hand upon her, to the bereavement of her good judgment first, and, 
finally, to the extinction of a life that might have proved a blessing 
to Lycia. 

Leontius had scarcely time to be sensible of her danger before a 
fresh cause for mourning overtook him. His son Leucippus, who 
had hitherto been a pattern of strict life and modesty, was stricken 
with a second arrow from the Deity, off'ended for his overturned 
altars, in which the Prince had been a chief instrument. The God 
caused his heart to fall away, and his crazed fancy to be smitten 
with the excelling beauty of a wicked widow, by name Bacha. 
This woman, in the first days of her mourning for her husband, by 
her dissembling tears and affected coyness had drawn Leucippus so 
cunningly into her snares, that, before she would grant him a return 
of love, she extorted from the easy-hearted prince a contract of 
marriage, to be fulfilled in the event of his father's death. This 
guilty intercourse, which they covered with the name of marriage, 
was not carried with such secrecy but that a rumor of it ran 
about the palace ; and by some officious courtier was brought to 
the ears of the old Duke, who, to satisfy himself of the truth, came 
hastily to the house of Bacha, where he found his son courting. 
Taking the Prince to task roundly, he sternly asked who that 
creature was that had bewitched him out of his honor thus. 
Then Bacha, pretending ignorance of the Duke's person, haughtily 
demanded of Leucippus what saucy old man that was, that with- 
out leave had burst into the house of an afflicted widow to hinder 
her paying her tears (as she pretended) to the dead. Then the 
Duke declaring himself, and threatening her for having corrupted 
his son, giving her the reproachful terms of witch and sorceress, 
Leucippus mildly answered that he " did her wrong." The bad 
woman, imagining that the Prince for very fear would not betray 
their secret, now conceived a project of monstrous wickedness, 
which was no less than to insnare the father with the same arts 



358 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

which had subdued the son ; that she might no longer be a con- 
cealed wife, nor a Princess only under cover, but by a union with 
the old man become at once the true and acknowledged Duchess 
of Lycia. In a posture of humility she confessed her ignorance 
of the Duke's quality, but, now she knew it, she besought his 
pardon for her wild speeches, which proceeded, she said, from a 
distempered head, which the loss of her dear husband had affected. 
He might command her life, she told him, which was now of small 
value to her. The tears which had accompanied her words, and 
her mourning weeds (which, for a blind to the world, she had not 
yet cast off) heightening her beauty, gave a credence to her pro- 
testations of her innocence. But the duke continuing to assail her 
with reproaches, with a matchless confidence, assuming the air of 
injured virtue, in a somewhat lofty tone she replied, that, though 
he were her sovereign, to whom in any lawful cause she was bound 
to submit, yet, if he sought to take away her honor, she stood up 
to defy him. That, she said, was a jewel dearer than any he could 
give her, which so long as she should keep she should esteem her- 
self richer than all the princes of the earth that were without it. 
If the Prince, his son, knew any thing to her dishonor, let him tell 
it. And here she challenged Leucippus before his father to speak 
the worst of her. If he would, however, sacrifice a woman's char- 
acter to please an unjust humor of the Duke's, she saw no remedy, 
she said, now he yvas dead (meaning her late husband) that with 
his life would have defended her reputation. 

Thus appealed to, Leucippus, who had stood a while astonished 
at her confident falsehoods, though ignorant of the full drift of 
them, considering that not the reputation only, but probably the 
life of a woman whom he had so loved, and who had made such 
sacrifices to him of love and beauty, depended upon his absolute 
concealment of their contract, framed his mouth to a compassionate 
untruth, and with solemn asseverations confirmed to his father her 
assurances of her innocence. He denied not that with rich gifts 
he had assailed her virtue, but had found her relentless to his 
solicitations ; that gold nor greatness had any power over her. 
Nay, so far he went on to give force to the protestations of this 
artful woman, that he confessed to having offered marriage to her, 
which she, who scorned to listen to any second wedlock, had rejected. 

All this while Leucippus secretly prayed to Heaven to forgive 
him while he uttered these bold untruths, since it was for the pre- 
vention of a greater mischief only, and had no malice in it. 

But, warned by the sad sequel which ensued, be thou careful, 
young reader, how in any case you tell a lie. Lie not, if any man 
but ask you, " How you do ? " or " What o'clock it is ? " Be sure you 
make no false excuse to screen a friend that is most dear to you. 



CUPID'S REVENGE 359 

Never let the most well-intended falsehood escape your lips. For 
Heaven, which is entirely Truth, will make the seed which you 
have sown of Untruth to yield miseries a thousand-fold upon yours, 
as it did upon the head of the ill-fated and mistaken Leucippus, 

Leontius, finding the assurances of Bacha so confidently seconded 
by his son, could no longer withhold his belief, and, only forbidding 
their meeting for the future, took a courteous leave of the lady, 
presenting her at the same time with a valuable ring, in recompense, 
as he said, of the injustice which he had done her in his false sur- 
mises of her guiltiness. In truth, the surpassing beauty of the lady, 
with her appearing modesty, had made no less impression upon the 
heart of the fond old Duke than they had awakened in the bosom of 
his more pardonable son. His first design was to make her his mis- 
tress ; to the better accomplishing of which Leucippus was dismissed 
from the court, under the pretext of some honorable employment 
abroad. In his absence, Leontius spared no offers to induce her to 
comply with his purpose. Continually he solicited her with rich 
oiFers, with messages, and by personal visits. It was a ridiculous 
sight, if it were not rather a sad one, to behold this second and 
worse dotage, which by Cupid's wrath had fallen upon this fantastical 
old new lover. All his occupation now was in dressing and pranking 
himself up in youthful attire to please the eyes of his new mistress. 
His mornings were employed in the devising of trim fashions, in 
the company of tailors, embroiderers, and feather-dressers. So in- 
fatuated was he with these vanities, that when a servant came and 
told him that his daughter was dead — even she, whom he had but 
lately so highly prized — the words seemed spoken to a deaf person. 
He either could not or would not understand them ; but, like one 
senseless, fell to babbling about the shape of a new hose and doublet. 
His crutch, the faithful prop of long aged years, was discarded ; and 
he resumed the youthful fashion of a sword by his side, when his years 
wanted strength to have drawn it. In this condition of folly it was 
no difficult task for the widow, by affected pretenses of honour and 
arts of amorous denial, to draw in this doting Duke to that which 
she had all along aimed at, the offer of his crown in marriage. 
She was now Duchess of Lycia ! In her new elevation the mask was 
quickly thrown aside, and the impious Bacha appeared in her true 
qualities. She had never loved the Duke her husband, but had 
used him as the instrument of her greatness. Taking advantage of 
his amorous folly, which seemed to gain growth the nearer he 
approached to his grave, she took upon her the whole rule of Lycia ; 
placing and displacing at her will all the great officers of state ; 
and filling the court with creatures of her own, the agents of her 
guilty pleasures, she removed from the Duke's person the oldest and 
trustiest of his dependents. 



360 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

Leucippus, who at this juncture was returned from his foreign 
mission, was met at once with the news of his sister's death and the 
strange wedlock of the old Duke. To the memory of Hidaspes he 
gave some tears. But these were swiftly swallowed up in his horror 
and detestation of the conduct of Bacha. In his first fury he 
resolved upon a full disclosure of all that had passed between him 
and his wicked step-mother. Again he thought, by killing Bacha, 
to rid the world of a monster. But tenderness for his father re- 
called him to milder counsels. The fatal secret, nevertheless, sat 
upon him like lead, while he was determined to confide it to no 
other. It took his sleep away and his desire of food ; and if a 
thought of mirth at any time crossed him the dreadful truth would 
recur to check it, as if a messenger should have come to whisper to 
him of some friend's death! With difficulty he was brought to 
wish their Highnesses faint joy of their marriage; and, at the first 
sight of Bacha, a friend was fain to hold his wrist hard to prevent 
him from fainting. In an interview which after, at her request, 
he had with her alone, the bad woman shamed not to take up the 
subject lightly ; to treat as a trifle the marriage vow that had 
passed between them ; and seeing him sad and silent, to threaten 
him with the displeasure of the Duke, his father, if by words or 
looks he gave any suspicion to the world of their dangerous secret. 
" What had happened," she said, " was by no fault of hers. People 
would have thought her mad if she had refused the Duke's offer. 
She had used no arts to entrap his father. It was Leucippus's own 
resolute denial of any such thing as a contract having passed 
between them which had led to the proposal." 

The Prince, unable to extenuate his share of blame in the 
calamity, humbly besought her, that "since by his own great 
fault things had been brought to their present pass, she would 
only live honest for the future ; and not abuse the credulous age of 
the old Duke, as he well knew she had the power to do. For him- 
self, seeing that life was no longer desirable to him, if his death 
was judged by her to be indispensable to her security, she was 
welcome to lay what trains she pleased to compass it, so long as 
she would only suffer his father to go to his grave in peace, since 
he had never wronged her." 

This temperate appeal was lost upon the heart of Bacha, who 
from that moment was secretly bent upon effecting the destruction 
of Leucippus. Her project was, by feeding the ears of the Duke 
with exaggerated praises of his son, to awaken a jealousy in the 
old man that she secretly preferred Leucippus. Next, by wilfully 
insinuating the great popularity of the Prince (which was no more 
indeed than the truth) among the Lycians, to instill subtle fears 
into the Duke that his son had laid plots for circumventing his life 



CUPID'S EEVENGE 361 

and throne. By these arts she was working upon the weak mind 
of the Duke almost to distraction, when, at a meeting concocted 
by herself between the Prince and his father, the latter taking 
Leucippus soundly to task for these alleged treasons, the Prince 
replied only by humbly drawing his sword, with the intention of 
lajring it at his father's feet, and begging him, since he suspected 
him, to sheathe it in his own bosom, for of his life he had been 
long weary. Bacha entered at the crisis, and ere Leucippus could 
finish his submission, with loud outcries alarmed the courtiers, who, 
rushing into the presence, found the Prince, with sword in hand 
indeed, but with far other intentions than this bad woman imputed 
to him, plainly accusing him of having drawn it upon his father ! 
Leucippus was quickly disarmed; and the old Duke, trembling 
between fear and age, committed him to close prison, from which, 
by Bacha's aims, he never should have come out alive but for the 
interference of the common people, who, loving their Prince, and 
equally detesting Bacha, in a simultaneous mutiny arose and re- 
scued him from the hands of the officers. 

The court was now no longer a place of living for Leucippus, 
and, hastily thanking his countrymen for his deliverance, which in 
his heart he rather deprecated than welcomed, as one that wished 
for death, he took leave of all court hopes, and, abandoning the 
palace, betook himself to a life of penitence in solitudes. 

Not so secretly did he select his place of penance, in a cave 
among lonely woods and fastnesses, but that his retreat was traced 
by Bacha ; who, baffled in her purpose, raging like some she-wolf, 
dispatched an emissary of her own to destroy him privately. 

There was residing at the court of Lycia at this time a young 
maiden, the daughter of Bacha by her first husband, who had 
hitherto been brought up in the obscurity of a poor country abode 
with an uncle, but whom Bacha now publicly owned, and had 
prevailed upon the easy Duke to adopt as successor to the throne 
in wrong of the true heir, his suspected son Leucippus. 

This young creature, Urania by name, was as artless and harm- 
less as her mother was crafty and wicked. To the unnatural 
Bacha she had been an object of neglect and aversion ; and for the 
project of supplanting Leucippus only had she fetched her out of 
retirement. The bringing-up of Urania had been among country 
hinds and lasses ; to tend her flocks or superintend her neat dairy 
had been the extent of her breeding. From her calling she had 
contracted a pretty rusticity of dialect, which, among the fine folks 
of the court, passed for simplicity and folly. She was the un- 
fittest instrument for an ambitious design that could be chosen, 
for her manners in a palace had a tinge still of her old occupation, 
and to her mind the lowly shepherdess's life was best. 



362 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

Simplicity is oft a match for prudence ; and Urania was not so 
simple but she understood that she had been seni for to court only 
in the Prince's wrong, and in her heart she was determined to defeat 
any designs that might be contriving against her brother-in-law. 
The melancholy bearing of Leucippus had touched her with pity. 
This wrought in her a kind of love, which, for its object, had no 
further end than the well-being of the beloved. She looked for 
no return of it, nor did the possibility of such a blessing in the 
remotest way occur to her — so vast a distance she had imaged 
between her lowly bringing up and the courtly breeding and graces 
of Leucippus. Hers was no raging flame, such as had burned 
destructive in the bosom of poor Hidaspes. Either the vindictive 
God in mercy had spared this young maiden, or the wrath of the 
confounding Cupid was restrained by a Higher Power from dis- 
charging the most malignant of his arrows against the peace of 
so much innocence. Of the extent of her mother's malice she was 
too guileless to have entertained conjecture; but from hints and 
whispers, and, above all, from tha,t tender watchfulness with which 
a true affection, like Urania's, tends the safety of its object — fearing 
even where no cause for fear subsists — she gathered that some 
danger was impending over the Prince, and with simple heroism 
resolved to countermine the treason. 

It chanced upon a day that Leucippus had been indulging his 
sad meditations, in forests far from human converse, when he was 
struck with the appearance of a human being, so unusual in that 
solitude. There stood before him a seeming youth, of delicate 
appearance, clad in coarse and peasantly attire. " He was come," he 
said, " to seek out the Prince, and to be his poor boy and servant, 
if he would let him." " Alas ! poor youth," replied Leucippus, " why 
do you follow me, who am as poor as you are .'' " " In good faith," 
was his pretty answer, " I shall be well and rich enough if you 
will but love me." And saying so, he wept. The Prince, admiring 
this strange attachment in a boy, was moved with compassion ; 
and seeing him exhausted, as if with long travel and hunger, in- 
vited him into his poor habitation, setting such refreshments before 
him as that barren spot afforded. But by no entreaties could he 
be prevailed upon to take any sustenance ; and all that day, and 
for the two following, he seemed supported only by some gentle 
flame of love that was within him. He fed only upon the sweet 
looks and courteous entertainment which he received from Leu- 
cippus. Seemingly he wished to die under the loving eyes of his 
master. " I can not eat," he prettily said, " but I shall eat to- 
morrow." " You will be dead by that time," said Leucippus. " I 
shall be well then," said he, " since you will not love me." Then 
the prince asked him why he sighed so : " To think," was his 



CUPID'S EEVENGE 363 

innocent reply, " that such a fine man as you should die, and no 
gay lady love him." "But you will love me," said Leucippus. 
"Yes, sure," said he, "till I die; and when I am in heaven I 
shall wish for you." — "This is a love," thought the other, "that 
I never yet heard tell of : but come, thou art sleepy, child ; go in, 
and I will sit with thee." Then, from some words which the poor 
youth dropped, Leucippus, suspecting that his wits were beginning 
to ramble, said, "What portends this?" — "I am not sleepy," 
said the youth, " but you are sad. I would that I could do any 
thing to make you meiTy. Shall I sing? " But soon, as if recover- 
ing strength, " There is one approaching," he wildly cried out. 
"Master, look to yourself — " 

His words were true ; for now entered, with provided weapon, the 
wicked emissary of Bacha that we told of; and, directing a mortal 
thrust at the Prince, the supposed boy, with a last effort, interpos- 
ing his weak body, received it in his bosom, thanking the Heavens 
in death that he had saved " so good a master." 

Leucippus, having slain the villain, was at leisure to discover, in 
the features of his poor servant, the countenance of his devoted 
sister-in-law ! Through solitary and dangerous ways she had sought 
him in that disguise ; and, finding him, seems to have resolved upon 
a voluntary death by fasting: partly, that she might die in the 
presence of her beloved ; and partly, that she might make known to 
him in death the love which she wanted boldness to disclose to him 
while living ; but chiefly, because she knew that by her demise all 
obstacles would be removed that stood between her Prince and his 
succession to the throne of Lycia. 

Leucippus had hardly time to comprehend the strength of love 
in his Urania when a trampling of horses resounded through his 
solitude. It was a party of Lycian horsemen, that had come to 
seek him, dragging the detested Bacha in their train, who was now 
to receive the full penalty of her misdeeds. Amidst her frantic fury 
upon the missing of her daughter the old Duke had suddenly died, 
not without suspicion of her having administered poison to him. 
Her punishment was submitted to Leucippus, who was now, with 
joyful acclaims, saluted as the rightful Duke of Lycia. He, as no 
way moved with his great wrongs, but considering her simply as 
the parent of Urania, saluting her only by the title of " Wicked 
Mother," bade her to live. " That reverend title," he said, and 
pointed to the bleeding remains of her child, " must be her pardon. 
He would use no extremity against her, but leave her to Heaven." 
The hardened mother, not at all relenting at the sad spectacle that 
lay before her, but making show of dutiful submission to the young 
Duke, and with bended knees approaching him, suddenly, with a 
dagger, inflicted a mortal stab upon him ; and, with a second stroke 
stabbing herself, ended both their wretched lives. 



364 MISCELLANEOUS PROSE, 1798-1834 

Now was the tragedy of Cupid's wrath awfully completed ; and, 
the race of Leontius failing in the deaths of both his children, 
the chronicle relates that, under their new Duke, Ismenus, the 
offense to the angry Power was expiated ; his statues and altars 
were, with more magnificence than ever, re-edified ; and he ceased 
thenceforth from plaguing the land. 

Thus far the Pagan historians relate erring. But from this vain 
Idol story a not unprofitable moral may be gathered against the 
abuse of the natural, but dangerous, passion of love. In the story 
of Hidaspes we see the preposterous linking of beauty with de- 
formity ; of princely expectancies with mean and low conditions, in 
the case of the Prince, her brother ; and of decrepit age with youth 
in the ill end of their doting father, Leontius. By their examples 
we are warned to decline all unequal and ill-assorted unions. 



APPENDIX 

ESSAYS AND NOTES NOT CERTAIN TO BE- LAMB'S 
BUT PROBABLY HIS 



SHAKSPEARE'S CHARACTERS 

To the Editor of The Examiner 
(1816) 

SIR, — It has always appeared to me that Shakespear was scarcely 
more remarkable for the force and marked contrasts of his 
characters than for the truth and subtlety with which he has dis- 
tinguished those which approached the nearest to each other. The 
former quality seems to have been oftener insisted on, only because 
it was the more obvious one. The Moor Othello, the gentle Desde- 
mona, the villain lago, the good-natured Cassio, the fool Boderigo, 
present a range and variety of character as striking and palpable as 
that produced by the opposition of costume in a picture. The differ- 
ence between them stands out to the mind's eye, so that even when 
we do not think of their actions or sentiments, the idea of their 
persons is still as present with us as ever. It is the same in Macbeth and 
Duncan, in Hamlet and the Ghost, in Lear and the Fool, in Falstaff 
and Prince Henry and Shallow, and so of the rest. These characters 
and the images they have stamped on the mind are the most opposite 
conceivable, the interval between them is immense : yet the force and 
passion with which Shakspeare has gone to the very verge of nature 
in embodying these extreme creations of his imagination, is not greater 
than the truth and felicity with which he has kept asunder others that 
are separated almost by imperceptible diflPerences. For instance, the 
soul of Othello is hardly more distinct from that of lago than that of 
Desdemona is shown to be from Emilia's ; the ambition of Macbeth 
is as distinct from the ambition of Bichard III. as it is from the meek- 
ness of Duncan ; the real madness of Lear is as different from the 
feigned madness of Edgar ^ as from the babbling of the fool ; the 
contrast between wit and folly in Falstaff anA Shallow is not more char- 
acteristic though more obvious than the gradations of folly, loquacious 
or reserved, in Shallow and Silence ; and again, the gallantry of Prince 
Henry is as little confounded with that oi Hotspur as with the cowardice 
of Falstaff, or as the sensual and philoscjphiq cowardice of the Knight 
is with the pitiful and knavish cowardice of Parolles. All these 

^ There is another instance of the same distinction in Hamlet and Ophelia. 
Hamlet's pretended madness would make a very good real madness in any other 
author. 



368 APPENDIX 

several personages were as different in Shakespear as they would 
have been in fact : his imagination lent itself to the reality, and every 
circumstance, object, motive, passion, operated there as it would in 
reality, and produced a world of men and women as distinct, as true 
and as various as those that exist in nature. The peculiar property of 
Shakespear's imagination was this truth, and at the same time, the 
unconsciousness of nature : indeed, imagination to be perfect must be 
unconscious, at least in production ; for nature is so. — It would be end- 
less to multiply examples. I shall attempt one in the chaa-acters of 
Bichard II. and Henry VI. 

The characters and situations of both these persons were so nearly 
alike, that they would have been completely confounded by the 
common-place poets. Yet they are kept quite distinct in Shakespear. 
Both were kings, and both unfortunate. Both lost their crowns owing 
to their mismanagement and imbecility ; the one from a thoughtless, 
wilful abuse of power, the other from an indifference to it. The man- 
ner in which they bear their misfortunes corresponds exactly to the 
causes which led to them. The one is always lamenting the loss of 
his power which he has not the spirit to regain ; the other seems only 
to regret that he had ever been king, and is glad to be rid of the 
power with the trouble : the effeminacy of the one is that of a voluptu- 
ary, proud, revengeful, impatient of contradiction, and inconsolable in 
his misfortunes : the effeminacy of the other is that of an indolent, good- 
natured mind, naturally averse to the turmoils of ambition and the 
cares of greatness, and who wishes to pass his time in monkish in- 
dolence and contemplation. — Bichard bewails the loss of the kingly 
power only as it was the means of gratifying his pride and luxury ; 
Henry regards it only as a means of doing right, and is less desirous 
of the advantages to be derived from possessing it than afraid of exer- 
cising it wrong. In knighting a young soldier, he gives him ghostly 
advice : — 

"Edward Plantagenct, arise a knight; 

And learn this lesson, draw thy sword in right." 

[III. " Henry VI.," Act II., Scene 2, lines 61-62.] 

Bichard II. in the first speeches of the play betrays his real 
character. In the first alarm of his pride, on learning of Boling- 
broke's rebellion, before his presumption has met with any check, 
he exclaims, — 

" Mock not my senseless conjuration, lords : 

This earth shall have a feeling and these stones 

Prove armed soldiers, ere her native king 

Shall faulter under proud rebellious [foul rebellion's] arms. 

["Richard II.," Act III., Sc. 3, 23-26.] 
f • ■ fl 
Not all the water in the rough rude sea 
Can wash the balm off from an anointed king ; 
The breath of worldly man cannot depose 
The deputy elected by the Lord.i 

• Shakespear has here very clearly stated the doctrine of Divine right, and re- 
ferred it to its proper origin, the opinion of an express interference of Providence in 



SHAKSPEAEE'S CHAEACTERS 369 

For every man that Bolingbroke hath press'd 

To lift sharp [shrewd] steel against our golden crown, 

Heaven [God] for his Richard hath in heavenly pay 

A 'glorious angel : then, if angels fight. 

Weak men must fall, for heaven still guards the right." 

[" Richard II.," Act III., Scene 2, lines 54-62.] 

Yet notwithstanding this royal confession of faith, on the very first 
news of actual disaster, all his conceit of himself as the pecuhar 
favourite of Providence vanishes into air. 

" But now the blood of twenty thousand men 
Did' triumph in my face, and they are fled." 

[Ibid., 76-77.] 
" All souls that will be safe fly firom my side ; 
For time hath set a blot upon my pride." 

[Ibid., 80-81.] 

Immediately after, however, recollecting that cheap defence of the 
divinity of kings which is to be found in opinion, he is for arming his 
name against his enemies. 

" Awake, thou coward majesty I thou sleepest. 

Is not the king's name forty [twenty] thousand names ? 

Arm, arm, my name ! a puny subject strikes 

At thy great glory." 

[Ibid., 84-87.] 

KiTig Henry does not make any such vapouring resistance to the loss 
of his crown, but lets it slip from off his head as a weight which he is 
neither able nor willing to bear ; stands quietly by to see the issue of 
the contest for his kingdom, as if it were a game at push-pin, and is 
pleased when the odds prove against him. 

When Bichard first hears of the death of his favourites. Bushy, 
£agot, and the rest, he indignantly rejects all idea of any further 
eflForts, and only indulges in the extravagant impatience of his grief 
and his despair, in that fine speech which has been so often quoted : — 

" Aumerle. Where is the duke my father with his power ? 

King Richard. No matter where ; of comfort no man speak ; 
Let's talk of graves, of worms and epitaphs ; 
Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes 
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth. 
Let's choose executors and talk of wills : 
And yet not so, for what can we bequeath. 
Save our deposed bodies to the ground ? 
Our lands, our lives and all are Bolingbroke's, 
And nothing can we call our own but death 
And that small model of the barren earth 
Which serves as paste and cover to our bones. 

the election of kings. On that hypothesis there is some sense in it. The fashion- 
able doctrine of legitimacy is flat nonsense. It makes the authority of kings proceed 
neither from God nor man. It is like Mahomet's coffin, suspended between heaven 
and earth, or like a lavi^er's wig and gown, with the man taken out. A notorious 
political scribbler of the present day has asked, " Who is the madman who believes 
in the doctrine of divine right ? Who is the madman that asserts it ? " We will 
tell him in two words, — all the kings that ever lived, and all the sycophants they 
ever had ! 

VOL. I. — 24 



370 APPENDIX 

For heaven's [God's] sake, let us sit upon the ground 

And tell sad stories of the death of kings : 

How some have been deposed ; some slain in war ; 

Some haunted by the ghosts they dispossessed [have deposed] ; 

Some poison'd by their wives ; some sleeping kill'd ; 

All murdered : " — &c. 

[Ibid., 143-160.] 

There is as little sincerity afterwards in his affected resignation to 
his fate, as there is fortitude in this exaggerated picture of his mis- 
fortunes before they have happened. 

When Northumberland comes back with the message from Boling- 
broke, he exclaims, anticipating the result, — 

" What must the king do now ? must he submit ? 
The king shall do it : must he be deposed ? 
The king shall be contented : must he lose 
The name of king ? o' God's name, let it go. 
I'll give my jewels for a set of beads. 
My gorgeous palace for a hermitage, 
My gay apparel for an almsman's gown. 
My figured goblets for a dish of wood. 
My sceptre for a palmer's wajking-staff, 
My subjects for a pair of carved saints 
And my large kingdom for a little grave, 
A little little grave, an obscure grave." 

[" Richard II.," Act III., Scene 3, 143-154.] 

How differently is all this expressed in King Henry's soliloquy 
during the battle with Edward's party : — 

" This battle fares like to the morning's war. 
When dying clouds contend with growing light, 
What time the shepherd, blowing of his nails, 
Can neither call it perfect day nor night . . . 

[g lines omitted] 
Here on this molehill will I sit me down. 
To whom God will, there be the victory I 
For Margaret my queen, and Clifford too. 
Have chid me from the battle ; swearing both 
They prosper best of all when I am thence. 
Would I were dead I if God's good will were so : 
For what is in this world but grief and woe ? 
O God I methinks it were a happy life. 
To be no better than a homely swain ; 
To sit upon a hill, as I do now, 
To carve out dials quaintly, point by point, 
Thereby to see the minutes how they run, 
How many make the hour full complete ; 
How many hours bring about the day ; 
How many days will finish up the year ; 
How many years a mortal man may live. 
When this is known, then to divide the times : 
So many hours must I tend my flock ; 
So many hours must I take my rest ; 
So many hours must I contemplate ; 
So many hours must I sport myself; 
So many days my ewes have been with young ; 
So many weeks ere the poor fools will 'ean ; 
So many months [years] ere I shall shear the fleece : 
So minutes, hours, weeks rdays], months, and years, 



SHAKSPEARE'S CHARACTERS 371 

Pass'd over to the end they were created, 

Would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave. 

Ah I what a life were this ! how sweet I how lovely ! 

Gives not the hawthorn-bush a sweeter shade 

To shepherds looking on their silly sheep, 

Than doth a rich embroider'd canopy 

To kings that fear their subjects' treachery ? 

O, yes, it doth ; a thousand-fold it doth. 

And to conclude, the shepherd's homely curds. 

His cold thin drink out of his leather bottle. 

His wonted sleep under a fresh tree's shade, 

All which secure and sweetly he enjoys. 

Is far beyond a prince's delicates. 

His viands sparkling in a golden cup, 

His body couched in a curious bed, 

When care, mistrust, and treason waits on him." 

[in. " Henry VI.," Act II., Scene 5, 1-54.] 

This is a true and beautiful description of a naturally quiet and con- 
tented disposition, and not, like the former, the splenetic effusion of 
disappointed ambition. 

In the last scene of Richard II. his, despair lends him courage : he 
beats the keeper, slays two of his assassins, and dies with imprecations 
in his mouth against Sir Pierce Exton, who " had staggered his royal 
person." Henry, when he is seized by the deer-stealers, only reads 
them a moral lecture on the duty of allegiance and the sanctity of an 
oath; and when stabbed by Gloucester in the Tower, reproaches him 
with his crimes, but pardons him his death. 

I shall conclude this letter with a remark or two on the characters of 
Shallow and Silence. In general Shallow hectors over him, and Silence 
merely answers by yea and nay, till in the garden scene SilcTice, who 
has got the start in drinking, is emboldened to express his opinion in a 
song ; and having thus broken the ice, enters into familiar discourse 
with Sir John, who compliments him on his good cheer, and Silence, 
in return, declares that "he had been merry twice and once in his 
time." What a confession of excess ! What a contrast to the 
prodigality of this age ! What a summary of human life ! It is 
curious that Shakespear should have anticipated in the person of 
Shallow, who was " in some authority under the King," that disposition 
to unmeaning tautology, which is the regal infirmity of modern times, 
and which, it may be supposed, he acquired from talking to his cousin 
Silence, and receiving no answers. 

Falstaff. ['Fore God,] You have here a goodly dwelling and a rich. 

Shallow, Barren, barren, barren ; beggars all, beggars all, Sir John : marry, 
good air. Spread, Davy ; spread, Davy : well said, Davy. 

Falstaff. This Davy serves you for good uses ; [he's your serving-man and your 
husband]. 

Shallow. A good varlet, a good varlet, a very good varlet, [Sir John]: by the 
mass, I have drank too much sack at supper : a good varlet. Now sit down, now 
sit down: come, cousin. [II. " Henry IV.," Act V., Scene 3, lines 6-16.] 

It cannot be denied that Peter Pindar has copied this style well. — I 
am. Sir, your humble servant, 

L. C. 



372 APPENDIX 



MRS. GOULD (MISS BURRELL) IN "DON GIOVANNI 
IN LONDON" 

Olympic Theatre 

(1818) 

THIS Theatre, fitted up with new and tasteful decorations, opened 
on Monday with a burletta founded upon a pleasant extra- 
vagance recorded of Wilmot the "mad Lord" of Rochester. The 
house, in its renovated condition, is just what play-houses should be, 
and once were, from its size admirably adapted for seeing and hearing, 
and only perhaps rather too well lit up. Light is a good thing, but to 
preserve the eyes is still better. EUiston and Mrs. Edwin personated 
a reigning wit and beauty of the Court of Charles the Second to the 
life. But the charm of the evening to us, we confess, was the acting 
of Mrs. T. Gould (late Miss Burrell) in the burlesque Don Giovanni 
which followed. This admirable piece of foolery takes up our hero just 
where the legitimate drama leaves him, on the " burning marl." We 
are presented with a fair map of Tartarus, the triple-headed cur, the 
Furies, the Tormentors, and the Don, prostrate, thunder-smitten. But 
there is an elasticity in the original make of this strange man, as 
Richardson would have called him. He is not one of those who change 
with the change of climate. He brings with him to his new habitation 
ardours as glowing and constant as any which he finds there. No 
sooner is he recovered from his first surprise, than he falls to his old 
trade, is caught " ogling Proserpine," and coquets with two she devils 
at once, tiU he makes the house too hot to hold him ; and Pluto (in 
whom a wise jealousy seems to produce the eifects of kindness) turns 
him neck and heels out of his dominions, — much to the satisfaction of 
Giovanni, who stealing a boat from Charon, and a pair of light heels 
from Mercury, or (as he familiarly terms him) Murky, sets off with 
flying colours, conveying to the world above the souls of three damsels, 
just eloped from Styx, to comfort his tender and new-bom spiritualities 
on the journey. Arrived upon earth (with a new body, we are to sup- 
pose, but his old habits) he lights a-propos upon a tavern in London, 
at the door of which three merry weavers, widowers, are trouling a 
catch in triumph over their deceased spouses — 

They lie in yonder church-yard 
At rest — and so are we. 

Their departed partners prove to be the identical lady ghosts who 
have accompanied the Don in his flight, whom he now delivers up in 
perfect health and good plight, not a jot the worse for their journey, to 
the infinite surprise, and consternation ill-dissembled, of their ill-fated, 
twice-yoked mates. The gallantries of the Don in his second state of pro- 
bation, his meeting with Leporello, with Donna Anna, and a countless 



SCRAPS OF CEITICISM 373 

host of injured virgins besides, doing penance in the humble occupa- 
tion of apple-women, fishwives and sausage-fryers, in the purlieus of 
Billinsgate and Covent-garden, down to the period of his complete 
reformation, and being made an honest man of, by marrying into a 
sober English citizen's family, although infinitely pleasant in the ex- 
hibition, would be somewhat tedious in the recital : but something 
must be said of his representative. 

We have seen Mrs. Jordan in male characters, and more ladies 
beside than we would wish to recollect — but never any that so com- 
pletely answered the purpose for which they were so transmuted, as 
the Lady who enacts the mock Giovanni. This part, as it is played at 
the Great House in the Haymarket (Shade of Mozart, and ye living 
admirers of Ambrogetti, pardon the barbarity) had always something 
repulsive and distasteful to us. — ^We cannot sympathize with Leporello's 
brutal display of the list, and were shocked (no strait-laced moralists 
either) with the applauses, with the endurance we ought rather to say, 
which fashion and beauty bestowed upon that disgustful insult to femi- 
nine unhappiness. The Leporello of the Olympic Theatre is not one 
of the most refined order, but we can bear with an English blackguard 
better than with the hard Italian. But Criovanni — free, fine, frank- 
spirited, single-hearted creature, turning all the mischief into fun as 
harmless as toys, or children's make-believe, what praise can we repay to 
you, adequate to the pleasure which you have given us ? We had better 
be silent, for you have no name, and our mention will but be thought 
fantastical. You have taken out the sting from the evil thing, by what 
magic we know not, for there are actresses of greater mark and 
attribute than you. With you and your Giovanni our spirits will hold 
communion, whenever sorrow or suffering shall be our lot. We have 
seen you triumph over the infernal powers ; and pain, and Erebus, 
and the powers of darkness, are henceforth "shapes of a dream." 

t 



SCRAPS OF CRITICISM 

(1822) 

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid 

Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire ; 

Hands that the rod of empire might have sway'd, 
Or waked to ecstacy the living lyre. 

Gray's Elegy. 

THERE has always appeared to me a vicious mixture of the 
figurative with the real in this admired passage. The first two 
lines may barely pass, as not bad. But the hands laid in the earth. 



374 APPENDIX 

must mean the identical five-finger'd organs of the body ; and how 
does this consist with their occupation of swaying rods, unless their 
owner had been a schoolmaster ; or waking lyres, unless he were literally 
a harper by profession ? Hands that " might have held the plough," 
would have some sense, for that work is strictly manual ; the others 
only emblematically or pictorially so. Kings now-a-days sway no rods, 
alias sceptres, except on their coronation day ; and poets do not 
necessarily strum upon the harp or fiddle, as poets. When we think 
upon dead cold fingers, we may remember the honest squeeze of friend- 
ship which they returned heretofore ; we cannot but with violence 
connect their living idea, as opposed to death, with uses to which they 
must become metaphorical (i.e. less real than dead things themselves) 
before we can so with any propriety apply them. 



He saw, but, blasted with excess of light, 
Closed his eyes in endless night. 

Gray's Bard. 

Nothing was ever more violently distorted, than this material fact of 
Milton's blindness having been occasioned by his intemperate studies, 
and late hours, during his prosecution of the defence against Salmasius 
— applied to the dazzling effects of too much mental vision. His 
corporal sight was blasted with corporal occupation ; his inward sight 
was not impaired, but rather strengthened, by his task. If his course 
of studies had turned his brain, there would have been some fitness in 
the expression. 



And since I cannot, I will prove a villain. 
And hate the idle pleasures of these days. 

Soliloquy in Richard III. 

The performers, whom I have seen in this part, seem to mistake the 
import of the word which I have marked with italics. Richard does 
not mean, that because he is by shape and temper unfitted for a 
courtier, he is therefore determined to prove, in our sense of the word, 
a wicked man. The word in Shakspeare's time had not passed entirely 
into the modern sense ; it was in its passage certainly, and indifferently 
used as such ; the beauty of a world of words in that age was in their 
being less definite than they are now, fixed, and petrified. Villain is 
here undoubtedly used for a churl, or clown, opposed to a courtier ; 
and the incipient deterioration of the meaning gave the use of it in this 
place great spirit and beauty. A wicked man does not necessarily hate 
courtly pleasures ; a clown is naturally opposed to them. The mistake 
of this meaning has, I think, led the players into that hard literal con- 
ception with which they deliver this passage, quite foreign, in my 
understanding, to the bold gay-faced irony of the soliloquy. Richard, 
upon the stage, looks round, as if he were literally apprehensive of 
some dog snapping at him ; and announces his determination of pro- 



SCRAPS OF CRITICISM 375 

curing a looking-glass, and employing a tailor, as if he were prepared 
to put both in practice before he should get home — I apprehend " a 
world of figures here." 



Howell's Letters. " The Treaty of the Match 'twixt our Prince [after- 
wards Charles I.] and the Lady Infanta, is now strongly afoot ; she is 
a very comely Lady, rather of a Flemish complexion than Spanish, fair 
hair'd, and carrieth a most pure mixture of red and white in her Face. 
She is full and big-lipp'd, which is held a Beauty rather than a Blemish 
or any Excess in the Austrian Family, it being a thing incident to 
most of that Race; she goes now upon 16, and is of a tallness 
agreeable to those years." This letter bears date, 5th Jan. 1622. 
Turn we now to a letter dated l6th May, I626. The wind was now 
changed about, the Spanish match broken off, and Charles had become 
the husband of Henrietta. , " I thank you for your late Letter, and the 
several good Tidings sent me from Wales. In requital I can send you 
gallant news, for we have now a most Noble new Queen of England, 
who in true Beauty is beyond the Long-woo'd Infanta ; for she was of a 
fading Flaxen-hair, Big-lipp'd, and somewhat Heavy-eyed ; but this 
Daughter of France, this youngest Branch of Bourbon (being but in 
her Cradle when the Great Henry her Father was put out of the World) 
is of a more lovely and lasting Complexion, a dark brown ; she hath 
Eyes that sparkle like Stars ; and for her Physiognomy, she may be said 
to be a Mirror of Perfection." He hath a rich account, in another letter, 
of Prince Charles courting this same Infanta. " There are Comedians 
once a week come to the Palace [at Madrid], where under a great 
Canopy, the Queen and the Infanta sit in the middle, our Prince and Don 
Carlos on the Queen's right hand, the king and the little Cardinal on 
the Infanta's left hand. I have seen the Prince have his eyes im- 
movably fixed upon the Infanta half an hour together in a thoughtful 
speculative posture, which sure would needs be tedious, unless affection 
did sweeten it." Again, of the Prince's final departure from that court. 
"The king and his two Brothers accompanied his Highness to the 
Escurial some twenty miles off, and would have brought him to the 
Sea-side, but that the Queen is big, and hath not many days to go. When 
the King and he parted, there past wonderful great Endearments and 
Embraces in divers postures between them a long time ; and in that 
place there is a Pillar to be erected as a monument to Posterity." 
This scene of royal congees assuredly gave rise to the popular, or 
reformed sign (as Ben Jonson calls it), of The Salutation. In the 
days of Popery, this sign had a more solemn import. 



376 APPENDIX 

THE MISCELLANY 

(1822) 

The Choice of a Grave 

IN Fontenelle's Dialogues of the Dead, Mary Stuart meets Rizzio, 
and by way of reconciling him to the violence he had suffered, 
says to him, " I have honoured thy memory so far as to place thee in 
the tomb of the Kings of Scotland." " How," says the musician, "my 
body entombed among the Scottish Kings?" "Nothing more true," 
replies the queen. "And I," says Rizzio, "I have been so little sen- 
sible of that good fortune, that, believe me, this is the first notice I 
ever had of it." 

I have no sympathy with that feeling, which is now-a-days so much 
in fashion, for picking out snug spots to be buried in. What is the 
meaning of such fancies ? No man thinks or says, that it will be 
agreeable to his dead body to be resolved into dust under a willow, or 
with flowers above it. No — it is, that while alive he has pleasure in 
such anticipations for his coxcomical clay. I do not understand it — 
there is no quid pro quo in the business to my apprehension. It will 
not do to reason upon of course ; but I can't feel about it. I am to 
blame, I dare say — but I can only laugh at such under-ground whims. 
"A good place" in the church-yard! — the boxes! — a front row! but 
why .'' No, I cannot understand it : I cannot feel particular on such a 
subject : any part for me, as a plain man says of a partridge. 



WiLKS 



It is very pleasing to discover redeeming points in characters that 
have been held up to our detestation. The merest trifles are enough, 
if they taste but of common humanity. I have never thought very ill 
of Wilks since I discovered that he was exceedingly fond of South- 
Down mutton. But better than this: "My cherries," he says, "are the 
prey of the blackbirds — and they are most welcome." This is a little 
trait of character, which, in my mind, covers a multitude of sins. 



Milton 



Milton takes his rank in English literature, according to the station 
which has been determined on by the critics. But he is not read like 
Lord Byron, or Mr. Thomas Moore. He is not popular ; nor perhaps 
will he ever be. He is known as the Author of " Paradise Lost ; " but 
his " Paradise Regained," "severe and beautiful," is little known. Who 
knows his Arcades > or Samson Agonistes ? or half his minor poems } 
We are persuaded that, however they may be spoken of with respect , 



THE MISCELLANY 377 

few persons take the trouble to read them. Even Comus, the child of 
his youth, his "florid son, young" Comus — is not well known; and 
for the little renown he may possess, he is indebted to the stage. The 
following lines (excepting only the first four) are not printed in the 
common editions of Milton ; nor are they generally known to belong 
to that divine " Masque ; " yet they are in the poet's highest style. 
We are happy to bring them before such of our readers as are not 
possessed of Mr. Todd's expensive edition of Milton. 

The Spirit Enters. 

Before the starry threshold of Jove's court 
My mansion is, where those immortal shapes 
Of bright aerial spirits live insphered 
In regions mild of calm and serene air, 
Amidst th' Hesperian gardens, on whose banks 
Bedew'd with nectar and celestial songs, 
Eternal roses grow, and hyacinth, 
And fruits of golden rind, on whose fair tree 
The scaly harness'd dragon ever keeps 
His umnchanted eye : around the verge 
And sacred limits of this blissful isle, 
The jealous ocean, that old river, winds 
His far-extended arms, till with steep fall 
Half his waste flood the wild Atlantic fills. 
And half the slow unfathom'd Stygian pool. 
But soft, I was not sent to court your wonder 
With distant worlds, and strange removed climes. 
Yet thence I come, and oft from thence behold, &-c. 

Our readers will forgive us for having modernized the spelling. It 
is the only liberty that we have taken with our great author's magnifi- 
cent passage. 



A Check to Human Pride 

It is rather an unpleasant fact, that the ugliest and awkwardest of 
brute animals have the greatest resemblance to man : the monkey and 
the bear. The monkey is ugly too, (so we think,) because he is like 
man — as the bear is awkward, because the cumbrous action of its huge 
paws seems to be a preposterous imitation of the motions of the human 
hands. Men and apes are the only animals that have hairs on the 
under eye-hd. Let kings know this. 



378 APPENDIX 

MUNDEN'S FAREWELL 
(1824) 

THE regular play-goers ought to put on mourning, for the king of 
broad comedy is dead to the drama ! — Alas ! — Munden is no 
more! — "give sorrow vent!" — He may yet walk the town, pace the 
pavement in a seeming existence — eat, drink, and nod to his friends 
in all the affectation of life — but Munden, — the Munden ! — Munden, 
with the bunch of countenances — the banquet of faces, is gone for ever 
from the lamps, and, as far as comedy is concerned, is as dead as 
Garrick ! — When an actor retires, (we will put the suicide as mildly a& 
possible,) how many worthy persons perish with him ! — with Munden, 
— Sir Peter Teazle must experience a shock — .Sir Robert Bramble 
gives up the ghost — Crack ceases to breathe. Without Munden what 
becomes of Dozey ? — Where shall we seek Jemmy Jumps ? — Nipper- 
kin, and a thousand of such admirable fooleries fall to nothing — and 
the departure therefore of such an actor as Munden is a dramatic 
calamity. 

On the night that this inestimable humourist took farewell of the 
public, he also took his benefit : — a benefit in which the public 
assuredly did not participate ! — The play was Colman's " Poor Gentle- 
man," with Tom Dibdin's Farce of " Past Ten o'Clock." — Reader, we 
all know Munden in Sir Robert Bramble, and Old Tobacco-com- 
plexioned Dozey ; — we all have seen the old hearty Baronet in his light 
sky-blue coat and genteel cocked hat ; — and we have all seen the 
weather beaten old pensioner. Dear Old Dozey, — tacking about the 
stage in that intenser blue sea-livery — drunk as heart could wish, and 
right valorous in memory. On this night Munden seemed, like the 
Gladiator, "to rally life's whole energies to die;" and as we were 
present at this great display of his powers, and as this will be the last 
opportunity that will ever be afforded us to speak of this admirable per- 
former, we shall "consecrate," as Old John Buncle says, "a paragraph 
to him." 

The house was full ; — full ! — pshaw ! — that's an empty word! — The 
house was stuffed — crammed with people, — crammed from the swing 
door of the pit to the back seat in the banished one shilling. A quart 
of audience may be said (vintner-like may it be said) to have been 
squeezed into a pint of theatre. Every hearty play-going Londoner, 
who remembered Munden years agone, mustered up his courage and 
his money for this benefit — and middle-aged people were therefore by 
no means scarce. The comedy chosen for the occasion, is one that 
travels a long way without a guard ;^it is not until the third or fourth 
act, we rather think, that Sir Robert Bramble appears on the stage. 
When he entered, his reception was earnest, — noisy, — outrageous, — 
waving of hats and handkerchiefs, — deafening shouts, — clamorous 
beatings of sticks, — all the various ways in which the heart is 



MUNDEN'S FAEEWELL 379 

accustomed to manifest its joy were had recourse to on this occasion. 
Mrs. Bamfield worked away with a sixpenny fan till she scudded only 
under bare poles. Mr. Whittington wore out the ferule of a new nine- 
and-sixpenny umbrella. Gratitude did great damage on the joyful 
occasion. 

The old performer, the veteran, as he appropriately called himself in 
the farewell speech, was plainly overcome ; he pressed his hands to- 
gether — he planted one solidly on his breast — he bowed — he sidled — 
he cried ! — When the noise subsided (which it invariably does at last) 
the comedy proceeded — and Munden gave an admirable picture of the 
rich, eccentric, charitable old batchelor Baronet, who goes about with 
Humphrey Dobbins at his heels and philanthropy in his heart. How 
crustily and yet how kindly he takes Humphrey's contradictions ! 
— How readily he puts himself into an attitude for arguing ! — How 
tenderly he gives a loose to his heart on the apprehension of Frederick's 
duel. — In truth, he played Sir Robert in his very ripest manner, and it 
was impossible not to feel, in the very midst of pleasure, regret that 
Munden should then be before us for the last time. 

In the farce he became richer and richer. Old Dozey is a plant 
from Greenwich. The bronzed face — and neck to match, — the long 
curtain of a coat — the straggling white hair, — the propensity, — the 
determined attachment, to grog, — are all from Greenwich. Munden, 
as Dozey, seems never to have been out of action, sun, and drink ! — 
He looks (alas ! he looked) fire proof. His face and throat were dried 
like a raisin — and his legs walked under the rum and water with all 
the indecision which that inestimable beverage usually inspires. It is 
truly tacking, not walking. He steers at a table, and the tide of grog 
now and then bears him off the point. On this night he seemed to us 
to be doomed to fall in action, and we therefore looked at him, as 
some of the Victory's crew are said to have gazed upon Nelson, with a 
consciousness that his ardour and his uniform were worn for the last 
time. — In the scene where Dozey describes a sea fight, the actor never 
was greater, and he seemed the personification of an old seventy-four ! 
— His coat hung like a flag at his poop ! — His phiz was not a whit less 
highly coloured than one of those lustrous visages that generally 
superintend the head of a ship ! — There was something cumbrous, 
indecisive, and awful in his veerings ! — Once afloat, it appeared im- 
possible for him to come to his moorings ; — once at anchor, it did not 
seem an easy thing to get him under weigh ! 

The time however came for the fall of the curtain, — and for the fall 
of Munden ! — The farce of the night was finished. — The farce of the 
long forty years' play was over ! — He stept forward, not as Dozey, 
but as Munden, and we heard him address us from the stage for the 
last time. He trusted, unwisely we think, to a written paper. He 
read of " heartfelt recollections " and " indelible impressions." He 
stammered, — and he prest his heart, — and put on his spectacles — and 
blundered his written gratitude, — and wiped his eyes, — and bowed, — 
and stood — and at last staggered away for ever ! — The plan of his fare- 



380 APPENDIX 

well was bad, — ^but the long life of excellence which really made his 
farewell pathetic, overcame all defects, — and the people and Joe 
Munden parted like lovers ! 

Well ! — Farewell to thee, rich Old Heart ! May thy retirement be 
as full of repose, as thy public life was full of excellence ! We must 
all have our farewell benefits in our turn ! 



COMIC TALES, Etc., 

BY C. DiBDIN THE YoUNGER 

(1825) 

IN this age of hyper-poetic plights, and talent in a frenzy aping 
genius, it is consolatory to see a little volume of verse in the good 
old sober manner of Queen Ann's days, when verse walked high, rather 
than flew, and sought its nutriment upon this diurnal sphere, not rapt 
above the moon. To a lover of Chess, who at the same time can relish 
the Rape of the Lock, the poem which forms the distinguishing feature 
of this volume cannot fail to impart pleasure. It is a mock heroic of 
course, descriptive of the Game ; and the Homeric parodies are adroit 
and numerous. The names of the mortal combatants, Blanc, Blanche, 
Croesieroi, Reinelawne, Sir Garderoi, Sir Gardereene, etc. on one side, 
with Niger, Nigra, Mitrex, Mitre regina. Sir Rexensor, Sir Reginalde, 
etc. on the other, are happily conceived, and the strife thickens to the 
conclusion. The Gods and Goddesses are the Games of Chance, or 
Mixed Chance, Faro, Whist, Loo, etc. in all their attributes, with old 
Hazard for their Jupiter, a fine gruff, grumbling Dice-compeller, whose 
dice-box is to him what the awful Homeric chain was to his Prototype. 
The soft blandishments oi Joan, the gentle Pope — 

Intriguing Hebe to the God of Game — 

wrings from his austere Deity his slow permission for the interference 
of the Olympeans in the fight below, and accordingly they range on 
either side, as in the Iliad ; and by their infusion of passions, coprices, 
impulses, peculiar to the nature of their own warfare, confound and 
embroil the pure contest of skill through five Cantos very entertainingly. 
We confess we are more at home in Hoyle than in Phillidor ; but by 
the help of the notes, we played the game through ourselves very 
tolerably. We subjoin an exquisite simile, with which the third Canto 
commences — a description of the Morning, redolent of Swift and 
Gay:— 

Now Morning, yawning, rais'd her from her bed, 

Slipp'd on her wrapper blue and 'kerchief red. 

And took from Night the key of Sleep's abode — 

For Night within that mansion had bestow'd 



AN IDLEE'S SCRAP-BOOK 381 

The Hours of Day ; now, turn and turn about, 

Morn takes the key, and lets the Day Hours out ; 

Laughing they issue from the ebon gate, 

And Night walks in. As when, in drowsy state. 

Some watchman, wed to one who chars all day. 

Takes to his lodgings door his creeping way ; 

His Rib, arising, lets him in to sleep. 

While she emerges to scrub, dust, and sweep. 



EXCERPTIONS FROM AN IDLER'S SCRAP-BOOK 

Times have consumed his works, saving some few excerptions. — Raleigh. 
Gray's Latin Ode On the Monastery of the Grande Chartreuse 
In a new Translation 
(1825) 

OTU severi religio loci. Some persons have sadly puzzled them- 
selves about this term religio. " It must be the vow of the 
order," say these good folks : "aye, and there we have the severity of 
their rules." So that Gray, whose Christianity does not seem to have 
sat particularly tight about him, (unless we suppose that in his letters 
to Walpole, he thought it gave him more of the air of a bel esprit and 
an esprit fort to affect scepticism,) is smitten, according to these " word- 
catchers who live on syllables," with the love of a monastic life ; and 
intends in good hearty earnest to shave his head, sew up his mouth, or 
only open it for the purpose of braying canticles and masticating par- 
snips, which, like Diocletian's cabbages, were to have been planted 
with his own fingers. Of this right apostolic resolution, I believe Gray 
never dreamed : no — not even in a make-believe trance of Parnassian 
inspiration. What would Dr. Keate say to a lad who should render this 
first line, " thou ! the religion of this place of austerities ? " But, " is 
not the monastery there.''" Beyond the possibility of contradiction. 
"Like Scotland," it "stands where it did." But as regards Gray's 
poem, its standing where it did was a mere accidental circumstance : 
he has not a thought — no, not even a mere glancing association — con- 
nected with its grey walls, or the Latin graces before and after 
pulse, droned out by the cowled faquirs within them. It is the aspect 
of nature, in the surrounding vastness of her most rugged and most 
gloomy solitudes, that awakens the enthusiasm of Gray. Take the sketch 
of the scenery from the first pocket volume which chance may throw 
in your way. " On one hand is the rock with woods of pine-trees 
hanging over-head, and on the other a prodigious precipice, almost 
perpendicular, at the bottom of which rolls a deep torrent." Here 
we have the religio and here the severi, I suspect, notwithstanding 
that Gray is unauthorized in his use of the term religio. He certainly 



382 APPENDIX 

means a sort of genius loci : a power invisible and inaccessible, like 
Lucan's unknown demon, of the Druidical forest of Marseilles : or 
rather its spirit ; the influence by which it makes its presence felt. 
But religio is employed to describe the impression of awe and rever- 
ence produced in the mind by some object of its solemn contemplation. 
Gray, therefore, substitutes an active for the passive significance of the 
word, and transfers the religious awe from the mind to the object : 
making the effect to be the cause. But though it is easy to perceive 
his meaning, it is not so easy to convey it with the requisite fulness, 
and conciseness, and precision. Some translators have rendered religio 
by genius. They agree with me, therefore, in their general notion : 
but their expression of it is too definite in one sense, and too undefined 
in another. It is too definite, because it clothes an obscure abstraction 
with a gross and palpable form : we use, indeed, the words genius and 
spirit for the essence or energy of things ; but where they are apostro- 
phized they become personifications. It is too undefined, because it 
fails to communicate the impression of sacred horror excited by the 
original. There is no absolute prosopopoeia : it is a nescio quid which the 
poet invocates : but it is a something which compels the instantaneous 
and involuntary sympathy and homage of the religious instincts. That 
there is a great difficulty in embodying this idea, must be evident from 
the fact, that Gray could only effect it by violating the philosophy of 
grammar. All the versions which have met my eye are too much in the 
nature of paraphrases. They slur the diction of Gray, and sophisticate 
his sentiment. I think the Latin Ode of Gray should be done in the 
same number of lines, and in the metre which he himself loved when 
he versified in English. Tentanda via. 

Dread somewhat ! hallowing to thyself this spot 
Of wildness, how to name thee? (for I deem 
Less than a